Despite officially suspending his campaign at CPAC in March, Ben Carson had a major impact on Tuesday’s New York primary. Even after his endorsement of Donald Trump, Carson has recently made statements that some have interpreted as pro-Cruz sentiments. However, after Tuesday’s primary, Carson has effectively laid to rest any doubts about his loyalty to Trump.
New York’s system of awarding delegates hinges on gaining a majority in each of its 27 congressional districts, as well as statewide. Thus, having fewer candidates in the race makes it significantly easier for a single candidate to win all of the delegates at stake. If no candidate receives 50 percent in a district, the delegates are proportionally awarded to candidates who received over 20 percent. For Trump, it was crucial that he win as many of the 95 delegates at stake as he possibly could, and with a little help from Ben Carson, Trump exceeded expectations.
Heading into Tuesday’s primary, four candidates were slated to appear on New York’s GOP ballot: Donald Trump, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson. Carson had missed the deadline to have his name stricken from the ballot. However, Carson sent a last minute letter to the N.Y. Board of Elections requesting that his votes not be counted toward his campaign. The request was granted by the Board of Elections, and all of the votes for Carson were voided.
This move by Carson undoubtedly made it easier for Trump to gain a 50-percent-plus-1 majority in many of N.Y.’s congressional districts. In fact, Trump received less than 53 percent of the vote in the 7th district, the 13th district, the 21st district, the 22nddistrict, the 23rd district, and the 25th district. In the 13th district, Trump received 50.49 percent of the vote—less than half a percentage point away from losing the majority of the vote. Thus, had Carson allowed his votes to be counted in New York, thereby diminishing every candidate’s percentages across the board, Trump wouldn’t have left New York with as many allocated delegates as he did, and his path to 1,237 delegates would have been that much more difficult.
Joshua Pinho is a Digital Communications Associate for the American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @Josh_Pinho.