Ever since real estate mogul Donald Trump entered the 2016 GOP presidential primary as a candidate, there have been questions swirling regarding whether he will run third party if he is not selected as the nominee. Even in the recent past at the FOX News debate in August, Trump would not promise that he would not run third party. He has contended as he has risen in the polls that that decision will be based on whether he feels he has been treated fairly by the GOP.
A source familiar with conversations between RNC Chair Reince Priebus and Donald Trump told POLITICO this morning that Trump has agreed to sign a pledge that he will not run third party.
POLITICO reports that Trump has made the decision in order to avoid complications of whether he will be listed on primary ballots. South Carolina requires such a pledge from a candidate in order for them to appear on the primary ballot.
A close associate tells POLITICO that Donald Trump plans to sign a loyalty pledge Thursday that would bind him to endorse the Republican nominee, and would preclude a third-party run. Trump made the stunning decision, which he has long resisted, to avoid complications in getting listed on primary ballots, and to take away an attack line in the next debate, the associate said.
Trump, who has led the GOP field in poll after poll, has long viewed the threat of a third-party candidacy as priceless leverage – and even used that word when he refused to take such a pledge in the first debate, on Aug. 6.
Trump is scheduled to hold a press conference in New York today at 2 pm. The topic has not been disclosed, but it could possibly be announcing that he has signed the pledge to not run third party. The presser will follow a 1 pm meeting between Priebus and Trump during which time Trump is expected to sign the pledge.
The text of the pledge was revealed by POLITICO on Wednesday.
“I [name] affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is. I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.”
With Trump’s continued rising in the polls, his holding out in signing the pledge may have been a strategic move in order to ensure that the other GOP candidates will endorse him if he does get the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential race.
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Update: 3:05 pm PT
Donald Trump did indeed sign the pledge agreeing to not run as a third-party candidate in the 2016 presidential election. His son, Eric Trump, tweeted a picture of his father after he signed it.
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) September 3, 2015