Trump says he'll "probably" run as independent if not the GOP nominee
Updated at 1 p.m. ET
If Donald Trump were to lose the GOP presidential nomination, he could run for president as an independent -- and he thinks he could win, the business magnate and television personality said Monday.
"I think the Republicans are very concerned that I [may] run as an independent," Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "I could also possibly win as an independent, otherwise I wouldn't do it. I'm not doing it for any other reason. I like winning."
Trump said that given the large segment of American voters who now identify as independent voters rather than as Democratic or Republican, "I'm sort of convinced you can actually win nowadays as an independent."
He added, however, that he would have reservations about an independent candidacy because his support comes largely from conservatives, and he does not want to splinter the GOP vote and then lose the election.
"The concern is that if I don't win, will I run as an independent, and the answer is probably yes," he said. "That bothers me only from the standpoint that if I don't win, we're not going to get a Republican, and Obama gets re-elected."
Trump's potential candidacy has been questioned by some who see it as a publicity stunt, especially given that Trump says he cannot officially enter the race until his television show "The Apprentice" is off the air in June.
"I don't need to do this for ratings on 'The Apprentice,'" Trump said. "This is too important, our country is in trouble, our country is not being properly led."
Regardless of how serious his candidacy is, Trump has made headway in recent polls among Republican voters, tying for second place in a recent Wall Street Journal poll with former
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and trailing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- who announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee just yesterday.
"Second's never been great," Trump said, but he added, "I do think the public understands my views."
Update: Trump is now tied with Huckabee for first place at 19 percent when Republicans are asked who they support for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, according to a new CNN poll.
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