Trump looking into running as an independent in presidential election

Jeff Winkler Contributor
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The Daily Caller has learned that despite dropping his name from consideration as a Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump is researching the possibility of running for the White House as an independent.

After the Trump 2012 speculation died down, Trump again raised the specter of a candidacy when he said on “Fox and Friends” that he “can’t rule out anything.”

Before his appearance Monday on the Fox News morning show, Trump spoke with a veteran election law expert to see what it takes to be an independent candidate.

Richard Winger told TheDC he had a very quick conversation with Trump about a week ago but “at the time, he maybe didn’t think he really wanted to run for president at all. That’s what he said a few hours after I talked to him.”

Winger is the publisher and editor of Ballot Access News, covering all aspect of election laws and rules and knows the requirements for independent candidates like the inside of a voting booth.

“I was just there to tell him, just in case he needed know, that if he wanted to get on the ballot as an independent it wasn’t all that difficult,” said Winger, who was cautious about any perceived “advice” he gave Trump.

“Then he asked me what,” said Winger, who began to chuckle, “what I thought he should do.”

In short, Winger made it clear that Trump just needs enough cash and fresh bodies to collect signatures in each state before June 3 to get on ballots nationwide.

In all but six early states, the cut-off for petitioning to be put on the presidential ballot is July, August or September. Nationwide, Trump would need about 750,000 valid signatures. That, of course, requires petitions and to gather that many signatures after jumping into the race so late in the game, would require hiring an army of professional petitioners.

“Well, if a person started early, they could probably do it for just $3 million dollars,” said Winger, who said it could be triple that for Trump should he wait until June when his “Celebrity Apprentice” contract ends with NBC.

“You save a lot of money by starting early because professional petitions are much cheaper in odd years than they are in even years,” said Winger. “On even years there’s a lot of demand for their services and their prices’ll go up.”

It could be chump change for Trump, who claims to be worth $7.5 billion.

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