Ben Carson releases Nevada delegates

Ben Carson endorses Donald Trump
Ben Carson endorses Donald Trump

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    Ben Carson endorses Donald Trump

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Ben Carson endorses Donald Trump 02:49

(CNN)Former presidential candidate Ben Carson has officially released the two delegates he won in Nevada, freeing them to support anyone they want in what might be a contested convention in Cleveland.

The retired neurosurgeon won about 5% of the vote at the caucuses February 23, which was enough to earn him two delegates because the state divides them proportionally. But he sent a letter Friday to the Nevada Republican Party asking that they be released, according to a party spokeswoman who declined to be named.
That means the delegates become "unbound," or free to support any candidate at the convention. In a contested convention, these unbound delegates could help put front-runner Donald Trump over the top to reach the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination.
    Carson has endorsed Trump, but the real estate mogul's campaign will need to organize on the ground to capitalize on the delegates. Grassroots activists and party insiders will meet next weekend to decide which Nevadans will serve as delegates and attend the Republican National Convention this summer. If Trump can get enough of his supporters elected as delegates, they could get Carson's spots and boost Trump's haul by two. But Sen. Ted Cruz -- and his strong ground campaign -- are likely eying those two spots as well.
    Trump is inching closer to the 1,237 delegates required to clinch the Republican nomination. According to CNN's latest estimates, he has 1,002 delegates and could pick up dozens more Tuesday in Indiana.