In the hunt for Republican delegates, what happens to the ones that no longer have a candidate? Are they free to be picked up like money found on the sidewalk? What are the guidelines and rules and laws that govern who a delegate will vote for and when? It all depends on which State you are from. How may votes have to pass before they are free to vote? Is this how it becomes a brokered convention?
With Marco Rubio dropping out of the Republican presidential race Tuesday, the Florida senator leaves a large cache of delegates behind. So what happens to them, and the delegates of other former candidates, at the convention in Cleveland?
The short answer is: It varies from state to state, but the Republican Party leaves enough wiggle room that the delegates of former candidates could end up being a factor in July.
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.
And they could hold sway.