Trump Ditches Republican Party Switches voter registration to 'independent' By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff Posted Dec 23, 2011 2:29 PM CST 54 comments Comments Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, right, waves after meeting with Donald Trump, and talking to the media in New York, Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Newser) – Donald Trump hasn't just pulled out of the Newsmax debate—he has pulled out of the Republican Party. The Donald, who was registered as a Democrat in a former life, changed his voter registration from Republican to "independent" yesterday, and his special counsel tells Politico that Trump made the switch "in order to preserve his right to run as an independent if he is (not pleased) with the GOP nominee." New York City's Board of Elections says its 2012 cutoff date was Oct. 14, meaning his new status won't be official until 2013. But Maggie Haberman considers that fact fairly inconsequential: "The point Trump is clearly trying to make is that he is looking at a third-party candidacy."