Rubio makes unprecedented bid to keep delegates for contested convention

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Brokered Convention? Here Are the Rules

Despite suspending his campaign, Sen. Marco Rubio is attempting to keep every delegate he won while running for president.

The unusual move reflects preparations for a contested convention this summer -- and comes as Donald Trumpbacked away from an earlier pledge to support the Republican party's nominee if he is treated unfairly after winning more delegates than his rivals.

SEE ALSO: These rumored VP picks for Hillary could make or break her chances

Rubio aide Alex Burgos told MSNBC that while the Florida senator is "no longer a candidate," he "wants to give voters a chance to stop Trump."

When presidential candidates suspend their campaigns, typically their delegates become free to support the candidate of their own choosing at the convention. Rubio, however, has quietly been reaching out to party officials with a different approach.

He is personally asking state parties in 21 states and territories to refrain from releasing any of the 172 delegates he won while campaigning this year, MSNBC has learned.

Rubio sent a signed letter to the Chair of the Alaska Republican Party requesting the 5 delegates he won in that state "remain bound to vote for me" at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.

Rubio copied National Chairman Reince Preibus on the letter - and sent the same request to all 21 states and territories where he won delegates, a source working for Rubio confirmed.

The Alaska GOP granted the request this week.

"Rubio said, 'I want my delegates,' and I said, okay," explains retired Army Col. Peter Goldberg, Chairman of the Alaska Republican Party.

Goldberg said he consulted RNC officials in Washington, who told him other state parties are consulting their rules in order to decide what to do with Rubio's delegates.

"They said some are trying to figure it out," Goldberg said. "Most states are leaning towards giving [Rubio] his delegates."

RELATED: Images from the GOP town hall:

19 PHOTOS
GOP Town Hall
See Gallery
Rubio makes unprecedented bid to keep delegates for contested convention
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump waves to the crowd after taking part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump takes part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump takes part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump takes part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump takes part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich takes part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich takes part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich takes part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich takes part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) takes part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) takes the stage as he takes part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) takes part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) takes part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich, participates in a CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper in the historic Riverside Theatre, Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump reacts to a compliment made about his kids by a questioner in the audience during a CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper in the historic Riverside Theatre, Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, participates in a CNN town hall in the historic Riverside Theatre, Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Milwaukee, Wis. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, participates in a CNN town hall in the historic Riverside Theatre, Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, participates in a CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper in the historic Riverside Theatre, Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Delegate allocation decisions are up to each state party, not the RNC.

Alaska's party rules say delegates can be taken from a candidate if he "drops out" before the state's convention.

Since those rules do "not use the word 'suspend'," Goldberg said he decided Rubio could keep his delegates, while acknowledging that previously, "we've always taken 'suspend' to mean 'drop.'"

READ MORE: What Is a Brokered Convention? GOP Rules Favor Trump

Presidential candidates often say they are "suspending" — rather than ending — a campaign in order to maintain an operation for handling bills and paperwork.

"No one has ever really tested this, the idea has always been that when you suspend, you're out," said a senior Republican in Washington, D.C., who did not want to publicly discuss a contested convention.

"No candidate has ever said, 'I want to suspend -- but I also want the delegates,'" according to the source.

Rubio's gambit could even impact who wins the Republican nomination.

If he convinces most state parties to maintain his delegates, that could effectively deny Trump 172 potential delegates from now through the first vote at this summer's convention.

If Trump fails to win a majority of delegates during the primaries, he can try to make up the gap by winning over some of the 323 delegates thought to be up for grabs.

Campaigns have talked about winning over those 323 delegates, a reference to delegates from states that don't bind their vote — which some describe as a GOP version of the Democrats' super delegates -- combined with delegates backing candidates no longer in the race.

The Trump Campaign, for example, has explicitly said it can woo those delegates if it finishes the primaries short the 1,237-delegate majority.

If Rubio is successful, however, he could cut that prized pool of delegates down to just 151.

RELATED: Marco Rubio on the campaign trail:

50 PHOTOS
Marco Rubio on the campaign trail
See Gallery
Rubio makes unprecedented bid to keep delegates for contested convention
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives at a campaign rally in Sanford, Fla., Monday, March 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., shakes hands at a rally in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Saturday, March 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., bows his head in prayer at a campaign rally in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Sunday, March 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., smiles at a campaign rally, Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., addresses supporters at a rally at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va., Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. pauses while addressing the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., Saturday, March 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at a campaign event to the Sun City community in Bluffton, S.C., on Thursday Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. boards a plane with his family and staff to leave Manchester, N.H., Wednesday Feb. 10, 2016, en route to South Carolina after the New Hampshire primary. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
IN FLIGHT - FEBRUARY 10: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) talks with reporters on his charter flight from Manchester-Boston Regional Airport February 10, 2016 en route to Spartanburg, South Carolina. Rubio placed fifth in the New Hampshire primary, behind fellow GOP candidates Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Donald Trump, who swept away the competition with 35-percent of the vote. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks to the media during a visit to a polling site at Bedford High School, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Bedford, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., works to charge up a crowd during a campaign stop in a high school cafeteria, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Londonderry, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Jessie Lemire, 12, of Candia, N.H., takes a photo with Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as he greets people during a campaign stop at Puritan Backroom Restaurant, during a campaign stop in Manchester, N.H., Monday Feb. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. leaves a campaign stop, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, at Morseâs Sporting Goods in Hillsboro, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. reaches out for a handshake during a town hall campaign stop, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee town hall in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
MT PLEASANT, SC - JANUARY 13: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) greets guests during a campaign rally at the Water Dog Grill on January 13, 2016 in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Tomorrow Rubio will join other candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president for a debate at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center in North Charleston, S.C.. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. smiles as he talks to members of the media following his speaking at Rastrelli's Tuscany Special Events Center in Clinton, Iowa, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives with his wife Jeanette Dousdebes, right, and their daughter Daniella, 13, to speak at the Maytag Innovation Center in Newton, Iowa, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and 2016 presidential candidate, waits to speak during a town hall meeting at the Maytag Innovation Center in Newton, Iowa, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. Rubio found himself under siege on two fronts Tuesday over his attendance record in the U.S. Senate as the Florida lawmaker embarked on a swing through snowy Iowa. Photographer: Scott Morgan/Bloomberg via Getty Images
FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., points to a potential supporter for a question during a campaign stop in Rochester, N.H. As 2015 wanes, the Florida senator is back in Iowa on Tuesday, Dec. 29, for a multi-day swing, hoping to shore up support and finish in the top tier of candidates in the Feb. 1 caucuses. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm, File)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks during a campaign stop at Weiler Manufacturing, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, in Knoxville, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., greets workers during a campaign stop at Weiler Manufacturing, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, in Knoxville, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - NOVEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) greets people before speaking during a community rally for 'Never Again' which was bringing attention to what the organizers say is a rise in worldwide anti-Semitism and the campaign against Israel's right to exist on November 15, 2015 in Miami Beach, Florida. Rubio continues to campaign for the Republican party's nomination. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - NOVEMBER 21: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to guests during a town hall meeting on November 21, 2015 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Yesterday Rubio participated in the Presidential Family Forum in Des Moines with six of his Republican rivals for the nomination. Rubio has several campaign stops scheduled in the state today. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council meetings in Washington, DC, November 16, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks at the Sunshine Summit opening dinner at Disney's Contemporary Resort on November 12, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.The dinner is the kick-off of a three-day event that will draw thousands of Republicans, mostly to hear live speeches from all the GOP presidential candidates on Friday and Saturday. (Photo by Tom Benitez - Pool/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks during the Sunshine Summit conference being held at the Rosen Shingle Creek on November 13, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. The summit brought Republican presidential candidates in front of the Republican voters. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and 2016 presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign rally at the Country Springs Hotel in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Rubio will appear at Tuesday's Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CONCORD, NH - NOVEMBER 05: Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL) files paperwork for the New Hampshire primary at the State House on November 5, 2015 in Concord, New Hampshire. Each candidate must file paperwork to be on the New Hampshire primary ballot, which will be held February 9, 2016. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio leaves the New Hampshire State House after filing for the state ballot November 5, 2015 in Concord, New Hampshire. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - NOVEMBER 4: Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL) participates in a round table discussion at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Rubio is looking for a bump in the polls following a strong outing in the last debate. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during an event at a restaurant Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, in Las Vegas. Rubio is scheduled to attend events in the Las Vegas area through Saturday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
GREENVILLE, SC - SEPTEMBER 18: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to voters at the Heritage Action Presidential Candidate Forum September 18, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina. Eleven republican candidates each had twenty five minutes to talk to voters Friday at the Bons Secours Wellness arena in the upstate of South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks at Civic Hall about the 'sharing economy' on October 6, 2015 in New York City. Rubio, who has been experiencing a slight uptick in the polls after strong debate performances, has a second book out in paperback this Tuesday called American Dream: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., talks with students Anabelle, and Gregory Watson during a campaign stop at Robie's Country Store Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., smiles as he speaks to supporters at an outdoor restaurant in the Santurce district of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. The U.S. territory must find its own way to get its financial house in order, Rubio wrote in an op-ed published in Spanish Friday in El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico's largest newspaper. The Florida Republican opposes efforts to allow Puerto Rico to use bankruptcy laws to deal with a staggering $72 billion debt. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during a campaign stop at the VFW, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Littleton, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 26: GOP Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., holds a town hall meeting in Londonderry, N.H., on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 18: Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (L) (R-FL) mans the grill with U.S. Rep. David Young (R) (R-IA) at the Iowa Pork Producers Pork Tent during the Iowa State Fair on August 18, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates are addressing attendees at the Iowa State Fair on the Des Moines Register Presidential Soapbox stage and touring the fairgrounds. The State Fair runs through August 23. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - August 17: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., greets supporters during a Family Night event at Dean Park in Ankeny, Iowa, Monday, August 17, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 14: Marco Rubio gives speach for the Foreign Policy Initiative at 3 West Club on August 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Sands/WireImage)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) participates in the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top-ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent national political polls. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 05: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) greets guests gathered for a campaign event at Town Hall on August 5, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Rubio is in Cleveland to participate in the Fox News GOP presidential candidate debate scheduled to take place tomorrow evening. The top ten polling Republican candidates were chosen to participate in the debate. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, smiles while speaking during a rally at Town Hall restaurant ahead of the Fox News Republican Presidential Primary Debate in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. Rubio will appear on stage with 9 other presidential candidates for the first Republican presidential debate tomorrow evening while former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal didn't make the cut. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and 2016 presidential candidate, speaks during the Faith and Freedom Coalition's 'Road to Majority' legislative luncheon in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 18, 2015. The annual Faith & Freedom Coalition Policy Conference gives top-tier presidential contenders as well as long shots a chance to compete for the large evangelical Christian base in the crowded Republican primary contest. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BOONE, IA - JUNE 06: Republican presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) waits his turn to speak at a Roast and Ride event hosted by freshman Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) on June 6, 2015 in Boone, Iowa. Ernst is hoping the event, which featured a motorcycle tour, a pig roast, and speeches from several 2016 presidential hopefuls, becomes an Iowa Republican tradition. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
GREENVILLE, SC - MAY 09: Republican Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) greets supporters at the Freedom Summit on May 9, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina. Rubio joined eleven other potential candidates in addressing the event hosted by conservative group Citizens United. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
NASHUA, NH - APRIL 17: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit April 17, 2015 in Nashua, New Hampshire. The Summit brought together local and national Republicans and was attended by all the Republicans candidates as well as those eyeing a run for the nomination. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13: Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida makes a formal announcement that he is entering the 2016 Presidential race at the Freedom Tower on April 13, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photos by Charles Ommanney for the Washington Post)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

That means if Trump finishes more than 100 delegates shy of a majority, he is less likely to win the nomination on the first ballot.

While the prospect of taking these delegates off the table only spilled into public view this week, when Alaska reapportioned its delegates, the potential significance was not lost on Rubio's campaign.

People close to the senator discussed this strategy before he suspended his campaign, according to a Republican source, even gaming out language for his concession speech that would be less likely to trigger a loss of delegates.

Even if successful, Rubio's delegate plan would not give him any individual leverage to play "kingmaker" at a contested convention.

Even in states that bind his delegates, like Alaska, they will only be required to vote Rubio on the convention's early ballots. The rules would not give Rubio any official control over who his delegates might support on later ballots, when the rules "release" them from having to back the candidate they were bound to by their state's primary results.

Beyond that, Rubio's plan also turns on the national rules governing the convention.

Some states only bind delegates to a candidate if he is listed on the national convention's first ballot. So Rubio could convince a state party to hold his delegates, based on their rules, but he would still need the national convention to put his name on that first ballot.

That might be a tall order for a man no longer running for President. Indeed, past conventions have required candidates to achieve a minimum level of support in the primaries to be listed on the ballot.

Take Minnesota, where Rubio won 17 delegates. The state GOP reiterated this month that delegates attached to a candidate must vote for him "if that candidate is on the first ballot" at the convention, but if not, they "may vote for any candidate."

In a contested convention, delegates and insiders backing Cruz and Trump would have sway over who is listed on the first ballot. It is possible an anti-Trump coalition would push rules protecting Rubio in order to thwart Trump.

While Rubio is going to great lengths to hold onto his delegates, there is no doubt he has stopped competing in future primaries. This week he sent a signed affidavit to have his name removed from the ballot in California, which awards 172 delegates on the last voting day in June.

Goldberg, the Alaska GOP chair, has his eyes on that state.

"My gut feeling is that no one will clinch 1,237 before convention," he says, "It may all hang on what happens in California, but we'll see."

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners