In the United States Presidential Primaries, what happens to a candidates delegates if they later withdraw from the race? For example, in the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary for the State of New Hampshire, Donald Trump would win 11 Delegates, John Kasich would win 3, Ted Cruz would win 2, Jeb Bush would win 2 and Marco Rubio would win 2. What happens to these delegates if/when one of these candidates withdraws from the Presidential race? Are they awarded to the withdrawn candidate anyway? Divided up between the remaining candidates in some proportion?


It depends. Some states may force delegates to defer to the dropped out candidates endorsement but other states may let their delegates vote freely at the national conventions. Usually the delegates defer to the endorsement out of pure decency but they can vote for whoever they like, including the candidate which dropped out.

  • Interesting... so theoretically the smaller candidates could band together via endorsements to overcome a larger, but mutually disliked candidate... – James Shewey Feb 10 '16 at 20:06
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    Do you know an example of a state in which delegates are forced to vote for the person their candidate endorses? – Julian Rosen May 5 '16 at 15:42
  • @JulianRosen I don't think that it happens now, it was an old practice. – needshelp May 7 '16 at 5:51

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