Posted: 12:32 am EDT
According to Fox News, delegates become “unbound” and are free to support other contenders as soon as their candidate withdraws.
Rubio, in suspending his campaign after his home-state Florida loss, leaves 169 delegates behind. Ben Carson accrued eight delegates before he dropped out of the race, while Jeb Bush picked up four. Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul each picked up one in Iowa.
And if either Ted Cruz or John Kasich drop out in the weeks ahead — and Donald Trump still has not clinched the nomination with the necessary 1,237 delegates — additional zombie delegates could be in play in Cleveland.
They would become essentially free agents, prizes to be wooed by the candidates duking it out in Cleveland.
In the 1976 Republican convention, it was the unbound delegates moving toward President Gerald Ford instead of Ronald Reagan that handed Ford the nomination that year. Ford held a slight lead going into the convention, but was shy of an outright majority.In part by using the power of the White House, with promises of visits and patronage to woo over delegates, Ford won the nomination on the first ballot, by a slim 60 votes.
In addition to these “zombie” delegates, there are apparently also 112 Republican delegates who are “unbound” because their states and territories – North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, American Samoa and Guam – hold no primaries or caucuses. According to Real Clear Politics, delegates are chosen at state convention without reference to voters’ views on the presidential candidates.
Below is a link to a video clip with Ben Ginsberg, a Republican attorney who has served as counsel to the Republican National Committee and several presidential campaigns talking on MSNBC. He explains what happens to Marco Rubio’s delegates now that the candidate has suspended his campaign, and the role that unbound delegates play in the Republican primary process. It looks like promises and patronage can play a big part in wooing over delegates. Will ambassadorships become part of the horse trading as candidates duke it out in Cleveland this summer? Oh boy! “A lot of ambassadorships out there and some 1500 Schedule C jobs.” See the great legal question and the answer. Watch at the 1:59 mark.
The video can also be viewed here on MSNBC.