A Virginia law requires that delegates must support the primary winner at the nominating convention on the first vote. Now a delegate whose candidate wasn’t the primary winner has gone all the way to a federal judge to get out of voting for Trump – and the judge has ruled in his favor.
Carroll “Beau” Correll, who had supported Cruz, said being forced to vote for Trump would violate his First Amendment rights. On Monday, the judge blocked enforcement of the Virginia state law.
Legally, it is still uncertain if the judge’s decision will apply to all Virginia delegates, or just Correll himself, reports NBC News.
The ruling could have an impact on the upcoming Republican National Convention, as other delegates wanting to vote their conscience will likely latch onto it.
Correll boasted that the Trump campaign has just been “morbidly humiliated” by the outcome of his case. “They put all their chips on the table and they lost all of them – if I were them, I’d go hide in a closet in Trump Tower,” he said.
He called on other anti-Trump people to nominate a new candidate:
“To national political figures that are on the sidelines and awaiting your calling, I implore you to take a step forward from the darkness and into the light. Show us that you have the courage to stand for leader of the Free World, appeal to the better angels of our nature, and to deliver this Republic from the abomination of a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton presidency.”
In the Virginia primary, 332,702 voters selected Trump, giving him 38.9% of the vote, compared to 24.7% for Cruz and 21.2% for Rubio. Trump was the winner in every county in Virginia, with the exception of one, which went to Rubio. Correll’s candidate, Ted Cruz, did not win a single Virginia county.
Over 332,000 Virginia voters who selected Trump as the winner were depending on Correll to fulfill his obligation.
At least 20 states have laws requiring delegates be bound to the winner. According to Correll, the anti-Trump delegates had been concerned that Trump could bring lawsuits against them if they do not abide by the law.
There is a snag in Correll’s “victory”, however. The Trump campaign points out that the judge’s ruling states that even if delegates are not bound by state laws, they are still bound by the state’s RNC party rules.
Therefore, the federal court ruling “has no bearing on RNC rules, so the disagreement over whether delegates are in fact bound to a candidate will be hashed out next week on the convention floor.”