WASHINGTON _ Donald Trump is declaring his independence.

After years as a registered Republican, the outspoken real estate mogul has filed paperwork to become an unaffiliated voter in his home state of New York.

Trump filed the paperwork making the change Thursday, a move prompted by his stated interest in mounting a third-party presidential run in 2012.

"Mr. Trump has said for almost a year that if he is not satisfied with who the Republican candidate is, he may elect to run as an independent," spokesman Michael Cohen said Friday. "This change in party affiliation certainly preserves his right to do so, after the finale of 'The Apprentice' in May."

Asked if any developments in the GOP race prompted Trump to make the change, Cohen said no. Trump has said he plans to endorse one of the Republicans running.

According to Politico, which first reported Trump's party switch, he will still be able to vote in the New York presidential primary next April. Trump had once been a registered Democrat.

Cohen also offered that Trump is "very disappointed" with how the Republican Party has handled the payroll tax extension, handing President Barack Obama a political victory.