Trump and Cruz lose Alaska delegates as Rubio returns

This letter, from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, asks the Alaska GOP to allow him to keep the five delegates he won in the March 1 Presidential Preference Poll.

This letter, from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, asks the Alaska GOP to allow him to keep the five delegates he won in the March 1 Presidential Preference Poll.

Four weeks after Alaska’s Republican Presidential Preference Poll, Marco Rubio has returned to the race.

In an unprecedented move, the U.S. Senator from Florida has asked to retain the five delegates he won in Alaska’s poll, even though he has formally suspended his campaign to win the Republican nomination for president.

The move is believed to be an attempt to block Donald Trump from winning an outright majority of Republican delegates nationally. Such an action would force a contested Republican National Convention and raise the possibility that Trump – who is leading among Republicans nationally – would not become the party’s presidential nominee in the general election.

In a letter to the Alaska Republican Party, Rubio requested the state reverse its policy of redistributing delegates if a candidate withdraws from the race before the party holds its state convention to pick delegates for the national convention.

On election night, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won a plurality of Alaska Republicans’ votes and a plurality of the state’s 28 pledged delegates to the Republican National Convention this summer. Cruz earned 12 delegates, Donald Trump earned 11, and Rubio was awarded five.

After Rubio suspended his campaign, those delegates were redistributed under the rules of the state’s presidential preference poll. The new count was Cruz 14, Trump 14.

On Monday, the Alaska Republican Party reversed the decision after Rubio requested and the state consulted the national party and attorneys, spokeswoman Suzanne Downing said.

Section 15 of the party’s rules states, “If a Qualified Presidential Candidate drops out prior to the Republican State Convention, the percentage of national delegates pledged to that candidate shall be reapportioned among the Qualified Presidential Candidates.”

Rubio based his case on the meaning of “drops out.” Since he has suspended his campaign, not entirely dropped out, Alaska Republicans’ interpretation is that he may keep his delegates.

“Senator Rubio will have his five delegates at the national convention,” said Peter Goldberg, chairman of the state party, in a prepared statement.

Monday’s action comes as establishment Republicans fight to keep Trump from gaining 1,237 pledged national delegates, the majority needed to become the Republican general election candidate.

In an intriguing quirk, Rubio requested his five delegates be pledged to him only for the first ballot at the convention. If Trump fails to gain 1,237 delegates before the convention, multiple ballots will be needed to select a candidate.

Under the rules of the state party, Alaska’s 28 pledged delegates will be required to follow the results of the preference poll for two ballots.

Downing said it is not yet clear whether Rubio’s request will supercede the regular state party rules.

• Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 19

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, Feb. 23, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Rep. Tom McKay, R-Anchorage, speaks in favor of House Bill 143 on Friday. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House approves relaxed environmental rules for ‘advanced recycling’

Applies to facilities using high heat or chemicals to turn plastic garbage into raw materials.

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon (right) discusses the Juneau School District’s financial crisis with school board Vice President Emil Mackey (right) and City Attorney Robert Palmer during a meeting Thursday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Meetings to comment on Assembly’s proposed $9.6M of help to school district scheduled next two Mondays

Plan includes $4.1 million no-interest loan, picking up “shared costs” this year and next.

A crowd overflows the library at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Thursday night as school board members meet to select a consolidation option to help resolve the Juneau School District’s budget crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
School district leaders approve putting grades 9-12 at JDHS, 7-8 and HomeBRIDGE at TMHS

Elementary schools will be K-6; Marie Drake, Floyd Dryden to close this fall if plan gets final OK.

Members of the Alaska House of Representatives celebrate the passage of a sweeping education bill on Thursday. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
House passes $680 BSA increase, with other education provisions

Bill now returns to Senate, which must pass it unchanged before it can head to the governor’s desk.

House Minority Leader Calvin Schrage, I-Anchorage, speaks during Thursday night’s floor debate on an education bill. (Screenshot from akl.tv livestream)
House approves $680 BSA increase, extra support for charter schools in education bill

Bill passes by 38-2 vote, Senate expected to concur with changes after days of negotiations.

Most Read