With Pennsylvania, along with four other Northeastern states, set to vote in Tuesday’s Republican primary, Trump supporters should be concerned that regardless of how the GOP frontrunner does, he may not win the majority of delegates.
Like many other states, Pennsylvania has what are known as “uncommitted” delegates which are not required to represent Trump at the RNC convention even if he wins Tuesday’s primary.
Pennsylvania, long an afterthought in presidential primary stakes, may emerge as a key player in crowning this year’s Republican presidential nominee.
Pennsylvania will send a whopping number of delegates to July’s unsettled Republican National Convention who, under a state party rule, can vote for whichever candidate they choose.
As a result, Pennsylvania’s April 26 statewide primary election is relatively meaningless — a beauty pageant. What is meaningful, however, is whom primary voters will select to send to Cleveland as the 54 uncommitted delegates.
This year, there’s a real campaign in Pennsylvania, and it’s about the delegates.
On Pennsylvania’s primary ballot are 162 people who are running to be a GOP convention delegate. They are elected by congressional district, three for each of Pennsylvania’s 18 districts for a total of 54.
Seventeen other delegates — the state party chairman, Rob Gleason, Pennsylvania’s two national GOP committee members and 14 picked in May by party leaders — must vote for the winner of Pennsylvania’s statewide primary election, but only on the first convention ballot. Beginning with the second ballot, they are as uncommitted as the 54 elected delegates.
For now, campaigns are trying to win pledges of allegiance from delegate candidates and, later, they expect to jockey to get party leaders to pick the campaigns’ supporters as the 14 delegates.
Many delegate candidates are relatively anonymous, and some are better-known officeholders. But the delegate candidates’ names appear on the ballot without any affiliation to a presidential candidate, meaning voters won’t necessarily know who they are really supporting.
Republican Party officials and political operatives say they expect an onslaught of delegate persuasion to begin in earnest after the election. A below-the-radar persuasion effort began last week, with Trump and Cruz loyalists telephoning delegate candidates to try to secure pledges of support. The Trump and Cruz campaigns have released a list of supportive delegates and are preparing campaigns to get them elected.
Some delegate candidates say they feel bound, at least on the first convention ballot, to vote for whichever presidential candidate wins their congressional district. Many are remaining noncommittal, at least publicly.
“I think that is my responsibility to hear everybody out and make a judgment at some point,” said Calvin Tucker, a delegate candidate from Philadelphia. “I think that is the purpose of being uncommitted.”
What steps should Trump take to secure that the “uncommitted” delegates in Pennsylvania follow the will of the voters, rather than bow to pressure from Cruz and Kasich? Share your thoughts with us below!
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