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Trump Unwilling to Rule Out Independent Run

Donald Trump: I want to run as a Republican, not an independent 6:44

The first Republican presidential debate began Thursday with Donald Trump raising his hand and saying he is unwilling to rule out a run as an independent if he does not capture the GOP nomination.

“I cannot say - I have to respect the person that wins,” Trump said. “I can totally make the pledge if I am the nominee - but I'm talking about a lot of leverage - we want to win and we will win.”

It's not the first time the wealthy businessman has talked about a third-party run, the prospects of which would likely hurt the GOP nominee by siphoning votes in a general election.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul interrupted Trump referencing the real-estate mogul’s history contributing to both Republican and Democratic politicians, including the Clintons.

“He buys and sells politicians of all stripes...He is already hedging his bet on the Clinton’s OK?” Paul said.

“So if he doesn't run as a Republican, maybe he supports Clinton, or maybe he runs as an independent. But I would say he’s already hedging his bets because he is used to buying politicians.”

Donald Trump Makes His Mark During First Debate 2:35