When California Republicans cast their votes in the June 7 primary, an election that could decide their party’s presidential nominee, they’ll probably be confronted by the ghosts of candidates past.
That means Republicans could still cast a vote for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore or Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, even though they all have ended their campaigns.
They’re all on the state’s presidential ballot alongside the Republicans still in the race: Donald Trump of New York, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Under California law, candidates who have dropped out can be removed from the ballot only if they file affidavits with the secretary of state’s office before April 1.
“The secretary of state’s office has not received an affidavit from any presidential candidate asking to be removed from the ballot,” said Sam Mahood, an agency spokesman. “The secretary of state’s office sends a letter, outlining the process to be removed from the California ballot, to presidential candidates who announce an end to their campaign.”
It’s possible, although it’s a long shot, that Bush, Rubio or other candidates who dropped out could win some delegates in California. The vast majority of delegates are awarded to the winner of each of the state’s 53 congressional districts.
In Florida’s March 15 presidential primary, Bush’s name was still on his home state’s ballot. He finished in fourth place with 1.8 percent — or 43,503 votes. Trump won the state by winning 45.7 percent of the ballots cast, or more than 1 million votes. In North Carolina, Carson won 10,918 votes, nearly 1 percent of those cast. The others had a few thousand votes between them.
But consider that in California’s June 2014 primary election, more than 300,000 ballots were cast for former state Sen. Leland Yee for secretary of state. That was good enough for third place, even though Yee had dropped out of the race after being accused three months earlier of conspiracy to run guns and political corruption. (A federal judge recently sentenced Yee to five years in prison.)
The California presidential ballots were set in February under the state’s rules for determining which candidates make the cut.
On the Democratic presidential primary ballot, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont also will have company. Martin O’Malley, who ended his campaign after a poor showing in Iowa, was not on the initial list of candidates cleared for the ballot and his name will not appear in June. But Clinton and Sanders will be joined on the ballot by Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente of San Diego, Henry Hewes of New York, Keith Judd of Texas, Michael Steinberg of Tampa and Willie Wilson of Chicago.