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The number of Penn alumni who may be running for president has just been cut in half.

1968 Wharton graduate and business magnate Donald Trump announced on Monday that, after several months of unofficial campaigning, he will not run on the Republican ticket for the 2012 presidential election.

“After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency,” Trump said in a statement. “This decision does not come easily or without regret, especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country.”

Penn Communications professor Barbie Zelizer said the news of Trump backing out is “not surprising.”

“Many looked at it as a publicity stunt to increase ratings for Celebrity Apprentice,” she said, referring to Trump’s reality television show. “His timing is telling as Celebrity Apprentice is just finishing its season.”

In April, a CNN poll of Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters showed that 19 percent favored Trump as the Republican candidate for 2012. However, in a more recent Politico-George Washington University Battleground Poll, 71 percent said there was no chance that Trump would win the election. 26 percent were doubtful that Trump was even sincerely considering running.

“How many people thought [Trump’s candidacy] was serious? Not many,” Zelizer said.

Eventually, Trump decided to turn back to his day job. “I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half-heartedly,” he said in the statement. “Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.”

College Republicans President and rising Wharton and College senior Charles Gray said that “Donald Trump was free to do what he wanted and he made the decision that was best for him and his family.”

“The Presidency is a ten-year commitment potentially, between the campaigning and the term, and there is always a possibility of a second term,” Gray, a Daily Pennsylvanian columnist, said. “If you aren't ready to make that commitment, then you shouldn't run.”

Trump’s announcement came only two days after former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, another prospective Republican candidate, stated that he would not run, narrowing the pool of potential GOP candidates.

1987 College graduate and former United States Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr. still remains a potential contender for the Republican ticket. Huntsman — who has only 25 percent name recognition among Republicans, according to a recent Gallup poll — may have a tough road ahead of him if he decides to run.

“I have no insight into what’s happening, but I have long said, since getting to know [Huntsman], that he is presidential material,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said earlier this year. “I will cheer on a proud Penn alum ... if he should decide to throw his hat into the ring.”

Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose visit to Penn in February led to controversy, formally announced his presidential campaign last week. The Gallup poll found that he has 84 percent name recognition.

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