U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio lost his home state of Florida to presidential hopeful Donald Trump, but his refusal to release delegates wherever possible may end the billionaire’s campaign at a brokered convention.
A letter sent by Rubio to Republican officials on Tuesday informed states where he won delegates that does not wish to release them. The move guarantees that certain delegates will not be able to vote for Trump on the first ballot at a contested convention, which would aide Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
“The decision to suspend my campaign for president of the Untied States is not intended to release any national convention delegates bound to me as a result of the 2016 delegate selection process that took place in your state,” Rubio wrote to the Alaska Republican Party in a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner. “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.”
Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos did not hesitate when asked about the motive behind the senator’s actions.
“He’s no longer a candidate and wants to give voters a chance to stop Trump,” Burgos told the newspaper.
“Cruz fans owe Rubio thanks for this. In fact, it’s almost certainly better than an endorsement. Think of it this way: If Rubio succeeds in keeping, say, 100 delegates away from Trump on the first ballot, that’s the equivalent to Cruz of winning a very large state,” the conservative website Hotair wrote Tuesday. “Rubio endorsing Cruz and campaigning for him might move some votes his way, but it’s hard to believe it’d make enough difference in enough states to shift 100 delegates to Cruz.”
Trump and Cruz are vying for the 1,237 delegates needed to outright win the Republican Party nomination on the first ballot. Trump has secured 736 delegates but Cruz is still competitive with 463 heading into Wisconsin’s April 5 primary election. The Badger State has 42 delegates available, with 18 allocated to a statewide winner and 24 dispensed to winner in each of the state’s congressional districts.
Rubio’s move will further frustrate Trump, who already vowed to sue over Louisiana rules allowing the senator’s delegates to become free agents and defect to Cruz.
“Just to show you how unfair Republican primary politics can be, I won the State of Louisiana and get less delegates than Cruz – Lawsuit coming,” Trump tweeted Monday, WND reported.
In addition to the five Rubio delegates who are now in Cruz’s camp, Louisiana has five unbound delegates. That means they do not have to vote for any particular candidate based on vote count, but can rather select for themselves.
Trump and Cruz both secured 18 delegates after the state’s March 5 primary election.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, meanwhile, sill refuses to end his campaign despite only having a single win under his belt – his home state. It is impossible for him to win the nomination with 1,237 delegates.