(KMSP) - He may have dropped his bid for president, but Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is in a position of power with Minnesota playing a big role. As the clock ticks closer to the Republican National Convention, closer to a Donald Trump nomination, Rubio's 173 delegates are seen as a way to stop the anti-establishment candidate.
“He has more influence now with the few delegates he has now than he did when he was running for the president of the United States,” Hamline political science professor David Schultz said.
"There's an effort to try and prevent Donald Trump from getting enough delegates on the first round to win the nomination,” he continued. "If they can block that, anything can happen in the second and third rounds of voting."
This week, Rubio sent a letter to the chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, asking that the delegates he was allocated "remain bound to vote for me on at least the first nominating ballot."
It’s a request Chairman Keith Downey has granted making Minnesota, the state that handed Rubio the most delegates, a surprise player at the convention.
“I think those 17 Rubio delegates will be very popular people on the months leading up to the convention,” Downey said.
Those delegates being bound to Rubio in the first round will prevent more delegates from going to Trump and increase the odds of something that hasn't happened in decades – a brokered convention.