Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioSunday shows preview: Trump stares down 100-day mark Treasury won’t grant Exxon drilling waiver for Russia Report: Trump privately met with former Colombian presidents in Florida MORE (R-Fla.) is lobbying his delegates to back him on the first ballot at the GOP convention in hopes of denying Donald TrumpDonald TrumpPence visits kangaroos at Sydney zoo on last leg of Asia-Pacific trip Trump dines out at his DC hotel Dems hunt for a win in Montana special election MORE the nomination, a new report says.
The Washington Examiner reported Tuesday that Rubio mailed the Alaska Republican Party a letter about keeping delegates he won in its caucuses last month.
“The decision to suspend my campaign for president of the United 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,” he wrote in the letter, obtained by the Examiner.
Rubio suspended his White House run earlier this month after finishing second in Florida’s GOP presidential primary.
The remaining GOP candidates, Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump wall faces skepticism on border No Congress members along Mexico border support funding Trump's wall Obama-linked group launches ads targeting Republicans on immigration MORE (Texas) and Gov. John Kasich (Ohio), are both trying to prevent front-runner Trump from getting the nomination. Having Rubio keep his delegates together would help efforts to deny Trump the nomination on the first ballot.
“Of course, he’s no longer a candidate and wants to give voters a chance to stop Trump,” Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos told the Examiner in an email.
Alaska GOP Chairman Peter Goldberg on Monday authorized Rubio’s request to send the letter after consulting with Republican National Committee lawyers.
“We treated the Marco Rubio campaign in the same manner we treated all other campaigns that suspended,” he said in a statement.
If Rubio had not asked his five delegates to back him on the convention's first ballot, Cruz and Trump would have had an equal number of delegates from Alaska. But now, Trump loses three delegates, while Cruz loses two, giving the Texas senator a 13-12 edge in the state.
Overall, Trump leads the remaining Republican presidential field with 736 delegates, according to the latest RealClearPolitics delegate count.
Cruz ranks second with 463 delegates, while Rubio is third with 171 delegates, and Kasich is last with 143 delegates, despite remaining in the race.
At least 1,237 delegates are necessary to secure the GOP presidential mantle at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next summer.