Ballot Access News reports that Donald Trump, who just changed his voter registration from Republican to Independent, won several Reform Party primaries in 2000. He had also changed his registration to Independence Party (allied with the Reform Party) back in 1999, and at various times has been registered as both a Democrat and a Republican.
Earlier this year Trump has at various times suggested he might run as a Republican or independent. However, ballot access laws now preclude him from appearing in at least some Republican primaries, and a nationwide independent ballot access effort separate from Americans Elect would be difficult to pull off at this stage, especially with Americans Elect working in numerous states at the same time.
Most speculation about billionaires that may run with Americans Elect has swirled around NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Since Americans Elect is precluded from spending large amounts of money on behalf of its presidential ticket after the nomination, a billionaire candidate would be able to make Americans Elect more competitive in the general election if he or she is willing to self finance a chunk of the campaign.
A recent Public Policy Poll polled votes about theoretical three-way match-ups against Obama and Romney:
Donald Trump 19%, Ron Paul 17%, Jon Huntsman 11%, Gary Johnson 9%, Mike Bloomberg 8%, Bernie Sanders 7%, and Rocky Anderson 4%.
Given that the Commission on Presidential Debates has set a 15% threshold for inclusion, only Trump or Paul is polling well enough to get into the debates. Bloomberg would have to nearly double his current poll numbers to make the cutoff.
Ballot Access News (first link above) says Trump has already said he may seek the Americans Elect nomination.
Since both Trump and Bloomberg live in New York, they can’t both be on the ticket since under the US Constitution New York presidential electors would not be able to vote for both of them should they win that state. UPDATE from Richard Winger in the comments: The U.S. Constitution does not bar two residents from the same state from running jointly for President and Vice-President. All the Constitution does is say that New York presidential electors could not vote for that ticket. But that is no problem, because after the November 2012 election, if a ticket of two New Yorkers ran as a team, one of them would just move to another state before the electoral college votes in mid-December 2012. This is how the Republican ticket handled the problem in 2000. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were both registered voters in Texas when they were nominated. After the November 2000 election, Dick Cheney canceled his voter registration in Texas and registered to vote in Wyoming.
Of the candidates polled by PPP, Paul and Huntsman are the only two included among Americans Elect most tracked candidates. Americans Elect currently reports This week’s tally is 2,313,079, an increase of 60,042 signatures in the past week. The eventual goal is about 3 million signatures. Recently, they cleared their biggest hurdle when California ruled that it has enough valid signatures for the ballot. Americans Elect has a goal of 30 state ballot access by the end of 2011 and 50 states plus DC in 2012.