Donald Trump has signed the Republican National Committee's pledge to endorse the eventual GOP nominee in 2016 and forgo a run as a third-party candidate in the general election.
"I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stands" he said at a press conference in New York City. "And we will go out and we will fight hard and we will win."
Trump added that the RNC has been "absolutely terrific" and "fair" since he became a presidential candidate.
"I see no circumstances under which I would tear up that pledge," he said.
In a paper statement released after the announcement, Trump said "This is far and away the best way to secure victory against the Democrats in November 2016. I am leading in all local and national polls --- my whole life has been about winning and this is what must be done in order to win the election and, most importantly, to Make America Great Again!"
Earlier Thursday, Trump met with Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus to discuss the agreement. The RNC had privately reached out to other Republican candidates in recent days to gauge their support for such a pledge.
But the promise holds specific importance for Trump, who has upended the GOP establishment by surging to the top of primary polls despite holding some policy positions considered outside of the party’s orthodoxy.
National polls show that a Trump independent run could garner double-digit support in a general election matchup, virtually guaranteeing a split in the Republican vote that would vault the Democratic nominee to the White House.
At the first Republican debate on August 6, Trump was the only candidate who refused to say he would not run as a third-party candidate if he did not win the Republican nomination.
The RNC pledge is not the only such agreement Trump’s team has been mulling.
Last week, the South Carolina Republican Party announced that candidates must agree to a party loyalty pledge by September 30 in order to qualify for the state’s primary ballot.