Presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a signed pledge of loyalty to the Repubican Party. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pledged Thursday that he will stay a Republican presidential candidate.
The real estate magnate signed a loyalty pledge for the party -- assuring GOP leaders he won't seek the nomination of any other party, or as an independent, should he be defeated in next year's primaries.
"The best way for the Republicans to win is if I win the nomination and go directly against whoever [Democrats] happen to put up. And for that reason, I have signed the pledge," Trump said.
A campaign adviser said there are four main reasons Trump signed the pledge, Bloomberg Politics reported.
The first is that Trump already has a lead in the polls. Second, to take away ammunition for his opponents. Third, to refute accusations of a more liberal past. And finally, the adviser said it ratifies Trump's "alpha male" status -- since RNC chairman Reince Priebus brought the pledge to Trump Tower, instead of the other way around.
In recent days, the party has been quietly circulating the pledge to the Republican candidates. It was emailed to each candidate and includes space for the candidate to sign and for Priebus to witness.
"I [name] affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is. I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party."
National Public Radio posted the actual pledge on its website Thursday.
The pledge is not legally binding, however, and Trump has been known to be unpredictable.
Speculation has abounded that the billionaire businessman may launch an independent bid if he doesn't win the Republican nomination, making GOP leaders nervous about the party's bid for the White House.
At the Aug. 6 debate, Trump was the only candidate out of the 17 who was unwilling to support the eventual nominee, or rule out a third-party bid.
Trump has been a thorn in the side of the Republican party since early in his candidacy. His incendiary remarks about Mexicans and immigration alarmed Republicans who feared he would alienate the fast-growing demographic. But since then, and after disparaging remarks on numerous topics, he has dominated the political rhetoric and is leading in many polls.
Part of Trump's voter appeal seems to be his anti-establishment position and charisma. He famously said during the first GOP debate that he doesn't have time to be politically correct.
"What I say is what I say. Part of the problem this country has is being politically correct. I don't have time for total political correctness," he said.