Trump Nixes Presidential Run
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Donald won’t try to be The President.
Colorful and controversial New York tycoon Donald Trump has decided against launching a long-shot bid for the White House, according to sources connected with the Reform Party’s New York affiliate, the Independence Party. In typical fashion, the publicity-courting Trump planned to announce his decision in a round of media interviews today.
Thus ends a lengthy flirtation with the notion that the billionaire real estate developer could tap his fortune to capture the White House as a third-party candidate.
After months of speculation about a possible Reform Party candidacy, Trump decided recently that the party is too fractured to support a credible presidential candidate, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Trump met over the weekend with advisers to consider a second option, running as an Independence Party candidate, but determined that there is not enough time to get on state ballots. Trump considered that option out of respect for Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who had been the Reform Party’s highest elected official before leaving the ``dysfunctional″ party last week to reinvigorate his state’s Independence Party.
Ventura and Trump were allies during Reform Party squabbling that culminated last Friday with the governor’s departure and the ouster of a Ventura ally as the party’s chairman.
A fractious Reform Party meeting Saturday in Nashville, Tenn., returned power to allies of party founder Ross Perot, who has not ruled out running for president a third time.
While he never formally entered the race, Trump made a handful of campaign trips, hinted broadly for weeks that he would run and issued comprehensive health care and federal debt-reduction proposals. He held a single-digit ranking in most public polls and was not given much of a chance of winning the presidency.
Trump’s decision leaves former Republican Pat Buchanan as the front-running candidate for the Reform Party nomination. Buchanan left the GOP after two failed presidential bids, eying the nearly $13 million in federal campaign funds that will be awarded the Reform nominee.
Trump estimates his personal net worth at $5 billion. Though independent analyses offer lower estimates, there was little doubt he was wealthy enough to make inroads toward the Reform Party nomination.
Many Perot allies encouraged Buchanan to bolt the GOP and join the Reform Party, in part because they hoped the conservative firebrand could help defy Ventura’s wing of the party. With Ventura out of the way, Perot’s allies are speculating that the Texas billionaire could seek the nomination himself.
Perot has neither confirmed nor denied the speculation.