Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus speaks during the 2014 Republican Leadership Conference on May 29, 2014 in New Orleans, La.
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GOP chief: I don’t fear a third-party run from Donald Trump

Updated

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, says he doesn’t fear a potential third-party run from current GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

“Our candidates should pledge not to run as a third-party candidate. I don’t see that happening,” RNC chair Reince Priebus said in a live exclusive interview with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie.

“I think everyone understands that if Hillary Clinton is going to beat, she’s going to get beat by a Republican and most people that run for president, run to win. If our candidates want to win, then they’ll have to run as a Republican.”

The GOP currently has 16 presidential candidates, with Trump leading the pack despite his provocative comments on immigrants and his questioning of Sen. John McCain’s status as a war hero.

Only the top 10 candidates will be allowed to participate in this election cycle’s first Republican prime-time presidential debate, scheduled for next month. But Priebus said all candidates will get the chance to explain their views because of a two-tiered debate system set up by the party.

“There’s going to be an early debate, and there’s going to be a debate a couple of hours later featuring the top 10, so all 16 are going to be debating on debate night,” he said. “I think people understand we can’t fit 16 candidates on a stage, so we’re splitting up the debate in two different heats.”

Priebus said the crowded Republican field will actually benefit the public.

“It’s not bad to have a battle instead of a coronation, like Hillary Clinton.”

This story originally appeared on TODAY.com

Donald Trump and Reince Priebus

GOP chief: I don't fear a third-party run from Donald Trump

Updated