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Jeb Says He Won’t Launch Third-Party Campaign Against Trump

January 7, 2016, 5:18 PM UTC
GOP Presidential Candidates Debate In Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 10: Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush smiles during the Republican Presidential Debate sponsored by Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal at the Milwaukee Theatre November 10, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The fourth Republican debate is held in two parts, one main debate for the top eight candidates, and another for four other candidates lower in the current polls. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Photograph by Scott Olson—Getty Images

Jeb Bush said on Wednesday that he won’t run a third-party campaign if Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination.

When asked by a questioner at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, the candidate who was once viewed as a natural frontrunner said that he’d support whatever candidate wins the nomination. “I’ve been supporting Republicans since Richard Nixon,” he said, according to Reuters.

Bush also called Trump a “jerk,” continuing his campaign to convince voters that the top-polling candidate is unfit to be president. He said that Trump proved himself to be a poor presidential candidate when he appeared to mock the disability of a New York Times reporter, as well as when he fumbled an answer in a December debate about basic principles of U.S. nuclear defense policy. “I think when you’re asked about the nuclear triad, and you’re running for president of the United States, you’d better have a good answer,” Bush said on Wednesday.


Bush’s promise not to launch a third-party campaign is a window into the unexpected turn that the race for the Republican nomination has taken since Trump announced his candidacy. In September, the Republican National Committee asked the candidates to sign a pledge that they would not launch a third-party campaign against the Republican nominee—a decision that was widely assumed to be calculated with Trump in mind. But with the real estate mogul’s popularity surviving long past expectations, Bush’s insistence that Trump fever will fade in favor of the establishment candidate is becoming less convincing.