Charlotte, NC - There are questions about whether or not Donald Trump will be on the ballot in the Carolinas, once the Presidential primaries roll around for each state.
Trump won't pledge not to run as an Independent, if he doesn't win the Republican nomination, and that could keep him off the ballot for the Presidential primaries in various states.
In a Fox News debate earlier this month, Trump was the only presidential candidate to say he’s not willing to rule out running as an Independent, also known as a third party candidate, if someone else wins the Republican nomination.
The state GOP in South Carolina says a candidate cannot be on the ballot for the Presidential primary unless he or she agrees not to run as a third party. Fox 46 News’ Robin Kanady asked the South Carolina GOP chairman his response to those who say this is just a way to keep Trump out of the primary.
SC GOP Chairman Matt Moore said, “The filing form was released in late June, before Mr. Trump began to rise in the polls.” Moore goes on to say local candidates in the Palmetto State also have to sign a similar pledge.
Dr. Michael Bitzer, Provost and Professor of Political Science at Catawba College, explains why state parties want candidates to make this sort of agreement. Dr. Bitzer said, “It’s certainly part of the sore loser kind of concept in terms of they don’t want people taking away from their base in the election, and often times third parties are spoilers.”
That means if Trump loses the GOP nod and runs as an Independent, he’s going to be stealing votes from Republicans, which gives Democrats an advantage.
Dr. Bitzer said, “One of the key things that he (Trump) said early on was if the Republicans play nice with me, I won’t think about a third party run, but this doesn’t seem to be playing nice with Trump, and certainly he may take the advantage and say look, ‘If you’re going to do this, I will threaten to do a third party.”
Trump’s campaign did have a response when Fox 46 News asked for a comment.
Late Tuesday, the North Carolina Republican Party told Fox 46 News if a candidate is on the ballot in North Carolina as a Republican in the Primary, he or she cannot be on the ballot in the General Election under another political party.
NC GOP Chairman Hasan Harnett released the following statement:
“The press is trying to create a story by reporting rumors and hearsay. I was unaware of any staff meetings regarding Mr. Trump’s candidacy in North Carolina. In fact, North Carolina State law already deals with the issue at hand and the NCGOP has no intention of restricting or preventing any legitimate Republican candidate from running in North Carolina. We will have a fair primary election and I welcome all Presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, to our great state.”
“Under North Carolina State Law, the issue of running as an independent or third-party candidate may be a moot point. According to NCGS 163-213.6, ‘The State Board of Elections shall forthwith contact each person who has been nominated by the Board or by petition and notify him in writing that his name will be printed as a candidate of a specified political party on the North Carolina presidential preference primary ballot. A candidate who participates in the North Carolina presidential preference primary of a particular party shall have his name placed on the general election ballot only as a nominee of that political party.”