- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Some Republican voters never lost faith in their preferred presidential candidate. Though they set a record by casting over 30 million votes in primaries and caucuses, a significant number of die-hard supporters still voted for candidates who had already exited the race.

Over 1.6 million Americans cast their vote for White House hopefuls who had already dropped out — amounting to 5.4 percent of the total vote, according to a new analysis by Smart Politics, a research project managed by the University of Minnesota.

There were victors in the drop-out race. Ohio Gov. John Kasich garnered the most support, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

“The GOP had a modern era high water mark of 17 major candidates running for office with 14 appearing on at least one state ballot this cycle. One by one these candidates fell to Donald Trump, but hundreds of thousands of voters across the country turned out to support them even though their campaigns had ended days, weeks, or sometimes even months before,” said Eric Ostermeier, a political professor at the campus who founded the project and led the research.

The analysis fund that Mr. Kasich garnered 451,673 votes, Mr. Cruz tallied 420,577. Mr. Carson 263,092 votes — with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush a distant fourth at 191,498 votes.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida came in fifth with 119,163 votes, followed by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky (58,221), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (48,007), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (33,181), former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (25,292), former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (15,290), former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (14,616), South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (5,672), former New York Gov. George Pataki (2,000) and former Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (219).

Ironically, 10 of the White House hopefuls received more votes as ex-candidates than they did while they were still on the campaign trail . This quirky phenomenon was led by Mr. Gilmore who won 104 times more votes after his exit than he did while still in the race.

Voting for the drop-outs was more popular in some states than others. Ten states saw the percentage of votes for ex-candidates reach double digits, most holding contests at the back end of the calendar: Nebraska (38.5 percent), South Dakota (32.9 percent), Oregon (32.5 percent), New Mexico (29.3 percent), California (25.1 percent), Washington (24.5 percent), West Virginia (22.9 percent), Montana (21.6 percent), New Jersey (19.6 percent), and Arizona (15.8 percent).

Ballots also held plenty of variables, the study found.

Some candidates appeared on many ballots in many states, though it did not appear to enhance their popularity. Mr. Bush, whose campaign ended early after the South Carolina primary, appeared on 34 state ballots as an ex-candidate. Mrs. Fiorina appeared on 29 ballots followed by Mr. Paul (28), Mr. Carson (27), Mr. Christie (26), Mr. Huckabee (26), Mr. Santorum (25), Mr. Graham (13), Mr. Rubio (10), Mr. Cruz (9), Mr. Kasich (9), Mr. Gilmore (8), Mr. Pataki (7) and Mr. Jindal (2).

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