Why Jeb Bush might want to campaign in Spanish

3 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AP sources: GOP works to avoid third-party presidential run.

The Republican candidates for president started putting pen to paper on Thursday, pledging not to mount a third-party bid as they awaited news that front-runner Donald Trump may do the same. WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush says his first reaction was to laugh at rival Donald Trump’s criticism of him for speaking Spanish. The billionaire businessman roiled the race for the GOP nomination when, in response to the first question at the opening debate of the 2016 campaign, refused to promise to back the party’s nominee if he fell short. “Every candidate has to make the decision about do you really want the nomination of our party or do you want to have it both ways,” New Jersey Gov. Senior Republicans say they expect the meeting to end with Trump signing a proposed loyalty pledge to the party, promising to endorse the GOP nominee—even if it isn’t Trump, who is leading in the polls.

The Republican National Committee’s challenge was confirmed by multiple campaigns, and the timing of the pledge suggests an agreement has been reached. Sources told CNN it appears Trump will sign the agreement — though they caution that anything can happen, based on the real estate mogul’s unpredictability.

During the first Republican debate, the said he would not limit himself politically and said he might do an independent campaign. “I’m, you know, talking about a lot of leverage,” he said at the Cleveland debate. “We want to win, and we will win. Trump, who has become the unexpected leader in the crowded GOP race, has repeatedly threatened to run as an independent if the party doesn’t treat him better.

It’s a move experts have said could derail Republicans’ hopes of regaining the White House by siphoning votes away from whomever wins the party’s nod. The RNC’s chairman, Reince Priebus, planned to meet with Trump at his campaign headquarters in New York City on Thursday shortly before Trump was to speak to reporters.

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on Thursday refused to confirm his boss’ plans, and Christie cautioned it would be unwise to make any assumptions about what Trump planned to do. The costs alone are prohibitive to most candidates who are not sitting on Trump’s billions, but cash alone cannot overcome the institutional hurdles that reward a two-party system.

Rand Paul of Kentucky said Thursday on “CBS This Morning” that he was likely to sign, too, adding that he was “sympathetic’ with third-party efforts, believing they spur the two major parties to act more in the public interest. Appearing on CNN’s “New Day” on Thursday morning, Christie said he hasn’t signed hans’t signed the pledge yet but noted he “already said it on stage” at the first debate. The pledge is not legally binding, and Trump could always change his mind — particularly if GOP establishment leaders take aggressive steps to thwart his candidacy in the coming months. “What I don’t like about Donald Trump is using the Republican Party and perhaps going out, at the very end, after he doesn’t win the nomination, and then trying to destroy the Republican Party,” Paul said.

Though the pledge was sent to every candidate, multiple campaigns told the AP that it was aimed squarely at Trump, who owns three New Jersey golf courses and once owned three Atlantic City casinos. Trump has until Sept. 30 to rule out a third-party run if he wants to compete in the Republican primary in South Carolina, the South’s first presidential primary contest.

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