Veteran GOP strategist Ford O'Connell says it's time for Donald Trump to reveal whether he's a fair-weather Republican and is still serious in his threats to run as a third-party candidate.
"The question for Donald Trump is whether or not he's interested in the Republican Party or just interested in Trump," O'Connell said Tuesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"If he does run as a third party candidate, even if he only gets 4 or 5 percent of the general election, he's going to can the Republican's chances of winning the White House in 2016.
"Once you enter the Republican fray, regardless of whether Donald Trump ran as a candidate, you should declare that you're never going to run as a third party because that's how close the White House is going to be in 2016."
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Trump, viewed as somewhat of a political freak by Republicans, has warned he will run as an independent if the GOP doesn't treat him as a serious candidate.
O'Connell believes Trump, who remains well ahead of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the polls, won't ultimately win the nomination.
"But he's shown himself to be a far more durable candidate than anyone ever imagined and I suspect he will continue on this trend at least until Iowa," O'Connell told Steve Malzberg.
O'Connell is the author of "Hail Mary: The Ten-Step Playbook for Republican Recovery,"
published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
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