With Rubio out, here’s what happens to the delegates he won in Minnesota

MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
With Sen. Marco Rubio out of the presidential race, the 17 delegates that he won in Minnesota are now “unbound,” free to throw their support to another candidate.

Editor’s note: this post has been updated to add information and clarify the column.

Sen. Marco Rubio’s decision to suspend his campaign for president Tuesday could actually make his caucus win in Minnesota more interesting, and more relevant, to the GOP nominating process.

With Rubio out, the 17 delegates that Rubio won on March 2 will be  “unbound,” free to throw their support to another candidate, assuming that Rubio officially ends his campaign and releases them.

There’s plenty of time for that to happen. The presidential preference poll conducted at Minnesota’s March 2 caucuses allotted 17 delegates to Rubio, 13 to Ted Cruz and 8 to Donald Trump. The first round of delegate elections takes place at the congressional district conventions in April and early May, then gets winnowed to 38 delegates elected at the state Republican convention May 21.

In the interim, teams for Cruz and Trump will be maneuvering to woo those delegates to their side. “There will be a lot of action at the congressional district and state conventions,” where delegates are selected for the Republican National Convention, said GOP party chair Keith Downey.

Downey said he believed the suspense of who gets the GOP nomination could last until the RNC in Cleveland in July. “Even with Trump’s wins on Tuesday, he would have to win half of the delegates still to be elected from other states. There’s a greater chance after tonight that the convention will determine who the nominee is.”

But Downey dismissed the suggestion of an brokered convention. “That suggests some smoke-filled back room where the so-called establishment selects a nominee, maybe someone who wasn’t even candidate,” he said.  “That will not happen. The convention is for the delegates, run by the delegates.”

And every delegate counts if the nomination is still open then – if no candidate has secured the 1,237 delegates needed to win.

Downey admits he was concerned that had any candidate locked up the nomination early, the state convention would be of little interest. He needn’t have worried. “Now it will be one of the most hotly contested conventions ever,” he said. 

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by David Sturrock on 03/16/2016 - 10:05 am.

    Please note the delegates have been allocated to candidates but not yet selected. That will happen at the eight CD conventions (three apiece) and the state convention (14 chosen at large there).

  2. Submitted by Bob Collins on 03/16/2016 - 10:57 am.

    Are you sure?

    I’m PRETTY sure that in order for the delegates of a candidate who has suspended his campaign to be free on the first ballot, the RNC rules committee has to repeal Rule 16.

    Have they done that?

  3. Submitted by Bill Willy on 03/16/2016 - 11:18 am.

    Tough call

    There are many MN Republican voters who see it as a golden opportunity, no doubt. But then again there may be as many or more who see it as some kind of anti-, or reverse-, Sophie’s Choice.

    What to do? . . What to do?

  4. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 03/16/2016 - 06:02 pm.

    Further proof

    Of the republican establishment’s ability to choose candidates in MN. Some of them are on their third choices.

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