Watch CBS News

Good Question: Where Do Delegates Go When Candidates Drop Out?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Almost two weeks after Marco Rubio dropped out of the race for President, he's asking the delegates he won to vote for him at the Republican National Convention this summer. In letters to several state Republican party chairs, Rubio wrote, "It is my desire at this time that the delegates allocated to me by your rules remain bound to vote for me on at least the first nominating ballot at the National Convention."

But, does that request follow the rules? What happens to delegates after a candidate drops out? Good Question.

"At this point, he's asking for something that our process kind of grants already," said Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey.

In Minnesota, Rubio won 17 delegates at the March 1 caucuses. He was followed by Ted Cruz with 13 and Donald Trump with 8.

If Rubio is on the national convention ballot, Downey says Minnesota Republican Party rules require those 17 Rubio delegates to vote for him in the first round. But, if there is a second vote, all 38 delegates are then unbound and can vote for whoever they want.

But, given the fact that Rubio has suspended his campaign, there's a good chance he won't even be on the convention ballot.

"If he's on the ballot, those delegates are obligated to vote for him on the first ballot," said Downey. "If he's not, then they are free agents and they can vote for whoever they want."

Whether or not Rubio is on the ballot likely won't be determined until the rules of the convention are determined in the weeks leading up to the July gathering.

What complicates much of this issue is that each state party has its own rules.

For example, if Rubio is on the national convention ballot, Oklahoma delegates are bound to him through all rounds of voting. In Alaska, Rubio keeps his delegates in the first round and, in subsequent rounds, those Rubio delegates are divvied up between Trump and Cruz.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.