'Unbound delegates' could decide the GOP presidential nomination

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'Unbound Delegates' Could Decide the Republican Presidential Nomination

With the possibility of a contested Republican convention looming, several states and territories — like the U.S. Virgin Islands — could be a deciding factor.

The key is unbound delegates, or delegates who can freely vote for their choice in the first ballot at the Republican National Convention.

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This idea is banking on the possibility that current GOP front-runner Donald Trump won't snag the needed 1,237 delegates to secure the nominee.

A former Republican National Committee official told USA Today, "That is how the 1976 Republican convention was decided as President Ford had less than a majority of delegates pledged to him but won the lion's share of uncommitted delegates."

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'Unbound delegates' could decide the GOP presidential nomination
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)
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The U.S. Virgin Islands may only have nine delegates, but it joins several other states and territories that have unbound delegates.

Colorado's Republican party chairman told the Hill, "I'm looking at whether the candidate is a conservative and whether they can win in November."

As of March 31, Trump had 749 delegates, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had 455.

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