Now that all other Republican hopefuls have dropped out of the presidential race and Trump truly is the last man standing, many believe that all delegates will fall to him.
In theory it sounds great – as though the party, and all remaining delegates, would unite behind the last man standing automatically. But this is politics and that means the answer isn’t quite as cut and dried as voters and Trump supporters might like it to be.
Suspending a Campaign vs. Ending a Campaign
Both Ted Cruz and John Kasich chose to suspend their campaigns rather than ending them. The Federal Government, though, doesn’t acknowledge a campaign suspension.
That means that under Federal Law they are still candidates for office until the time when, or if, they officially end their campaigns, according to CNN. Ending the campaign involves closing campaign accounts, officially terminating the campaign, or publically states he (or she) is no longer a candidate for President.
The fact that both candidates chose to suspend their campaigns says volumes, politically speaking, and keeps many of their delegates in play. When Cruz suspended his campaign he had 564 delegates while Kasich had 153.
Neither candidate, at the time of campaign suspension, was capable of securing the 1,237 delegates necessary for nomination on the first ballot. However, they may have been able to take on roles as spoilers for denying the first round vote to Trump had they remained in the race.
What Happens to their Delegates now that they have left the Race?
The Grand Old Party allows the states to reign supreme when it comes to how their delegates operate. While this could potentially mean 50 different rules for bound and unbound delegates, LawNewz.com reports that there are really only three potential options.
- Formerly bound delegates become unbound allowing them to vote for Donald Trump on the first ballot if they choose to do so.
- Bound delegates remain bound to their presidential candidate through the first round of voting and are free to vote for Trump in further rounds should they become necessary.
- Delegates are automatically reallocated to the remaining candidate, in this case, Donald Trump, who is the presumptive nominee.In some states, the candidates can choose to release their delegates to vote for the last man standing. In others, it happens automatically. Some states, though, hold their delegates to the original candidate regardless of what happens further along the way.
Why is this Important if Trump is the Only Candidate Remaining?
Now that Cruz has suspended his campaign he is no longer allowed to actively campaign for the job of U.S. President. The fact that his delegates remain in play and that he has not officially ended his candidacy, along with the fact he won more than the required four states, means that if Donald Trump doesn’t role into the convention with at least the required 1,237 bound delegates for the first round of convention voting, there remains the risk of unpleasant surprises and upheavals at the convention.
In the long run, this means that the race isn’t a “done deal” and that Trump supporters still need to show up en masse, to show their support where it matters most – at the ballot box. This is the surest way to bring in future delegates that will secure the nomination once and for all.