Trumpf Won't Be Running As An Independent No Matter How Unfairly The GOP Establishment Treats Him
Another day, another non-predictive national horse race poll showing Herr Trumpf way ahead of the pack. This time it was the Washington Post's December polling with Trumpf up 5 to 38%, followed by Cruz (up 7 at 14%), Dr. Ben (down 11 at 11%) and the latest establishment superstar, Marco Rubio down 1 at 10%. Nonetheless, Trumpf doesn't have the leverage to threaten the Republican Party that he thought he does, or at least keeps saying he does (although this evening he seemed to say at the debate that he wouldn't make a third party run, whatever that's worth). Just a couple of days ago he was hinting he still might run as an independent if the GOP establishment treats him unfairly-- as they are certainly planning to do. The NY Daily News' Cameron Joseph wrote over the weekend that "Trump has the Republican Party establishment right where he wants them. The divisive billionaire’s renewed threats to bolt from the GOP and run as an independent in the general election has party elders on edge that he’ll guarantee four more years of a Democrat in the White House. 'If he runs, Hillary’s the President. The numbers just don’t add up any other way,' said GOP strategist Ford O'Connell... Party leaders took heed of Trump’s threat. While many made a point to publicly disagree with his comments on Muslims, all said they’d still back him if he won the nomination. Others-- like Peggy Noonan for example-- are actually speculating that if Trumpf gets the GOP nomination, a mainstream conservative may run as a third-party candidate to keep him out of the White House!
When Trumpf filed to run as a Republican in Texas on Wednesday and then in Ohio on Friday, he precluded the possibility of running for president in those two states which are pretty essential for conservatives. No Republican has won the presidency without both Texas and Ohio since 1922 when Republican Calvin Coolidge beat Democrat John Davis in 1922, with Ohio voting for him but Texas going for Davis. The very establishment Ohio Secretary of State, Jon Husted, says Trump can't run as an independent. But is that true? It may come down to how you define "good faith."
If Trumpf were to try a third party campaign in Texas, he would run up against petition signature deadlines in the spring. He'd have to start collecting signatures-- no simple feat to begin with-- in March. Texas' open primary (for 155 delegates, the second biggest-- after California-- Republican prize of the primary season) is March 1 and the deadline to turn them in is May 9. Texas, though, has a sore-loser law, which stipulates that if a candidate runs in a party's primary and loses, he or she can't then run as an independent. (Michigan, South Dakota and Mississippi have similar sore loser laws.)
[U]nder the Ohio Revised Code and case law, any independent presidential candidate running in the state must first disaffiliate with any political party "in good faith."
"Since Donald Trump has filed a declaration of candidacy with our office as a Republican, has filed with Federal Election Commission as a Republican candidate and voluntarily took part in the Republican presidential debates, the first of which was held in Ohio, there is no way for Mr. Trump to disaffiliate from the Republican Party 'in good faith' during this election cycle," said Husted spokesman Joshua Eck in an email.
Trump could theoretically run as a third-party candidate in Ohio, but the only recognized minor party in the state right now is the Green Party.