Rubio wants to keep seven Ky. delegates, but RPK says party rules will dictate what happens

04/03/2016 08:59 AM

The status of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s seven Kentucky presidential delegates will be determined by state and national party rules, Republican Party of Kentucky Executive Director Mike Biagi told Pure Politics Friday.

RPK Chairman Mac Brown was among GOP officials in 21 states or territories where Rubio, who suspended his presidential campaign after a double-digit loss in his home state March 15, won delegates and received letters requesting his delegates for at least the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in July, as reported by NBC News on Wednesday.

He won seven in Kentucky’s March 5 presidential caucus and carried 172 in all before dropping out of the race.

A Rubio spokesman told MSNBC and Fox News that the move is an attempt to block Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump from getting the 1,237 delegates necessary to secure the nomination on the first ballot at the convention.

The New York real estate mogul currently has 736 delegates.

“I write this letter to inform you that the decision to suspend my campaign for President of the Untied (sic) 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,” reads the letter, signed by Rubio and sent to Brown and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

“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.”

A copy of the letter can be found here: Rubio delegate letter to RPK.JPG

Biagi, in a statement Friday, said RPK “will continue to be guided by our national and state party rules for selecting delegates and participating at the Convention.”

Delegates for presidential candidates are typically released once campaigns are suspended or withdrawn, and it’s unclear whether Rubio will keep his seven Kentucky delegates.

RPK rules state that presidential delegates become uncommitted once a candidate dies or withdraws from the race, and the uncommitted delegates vote amongst themselves during a meeting at the convention for any of the remaining candidates they’d like to support. The delegates would then be allocated proportionally based on the vote, according to the rules.

The Massachusetts Republican Party has a similar rule in place, and its chairwoman, Kirsten Hughes, said Rubio would keep the eight delegates he won there March 1.

“Since Sen. Rubio has only suspended his campaign and has not formally withdrawn, his delegates will be allocated to him when the Allocations Committee does its work this April,” MassGOP spokesman Terry MacCormack said, according to the Boston Herald. “So we were intending to proceed this way regardless of whether he communicated with us or not.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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