Thursday, April 21, 2016
The importance of Pennsylvania and its 54 free-agent delegates
The Pennsylvania Republican primary has two different primaries -- (Donald Trump vs. Ted Cruz vs. John Kasich), and (the fight for the state's 54 free-agent delegates). Indeed, it's that second primary that very well could determine whether or not Trump reaches the 1,237 delegates needed to win the GOP presidential nomination. Here's how Pennsylvania's delegate allocation works: 17 delegates are awarded to next week's Republican winner, and Trump is leading his GOP rivals by double digits in the Keystone State, according to a new Franklin & Marshall poll. But the state's other 54 delegates will be elected on the ballot -- with no clue to voters whom they might support at the convention -- and they will act as free agents heading into July's GOP convention. How big of a deal is Pennsylvania's delegate-allocation system? The most he can get from a big win (at least on Primary Day) is 17 delegates. And how many of those 54 unbound delegates Trump can convince to vote for him could be the difference between reaching 1,237 on that first convention ballot and missing it.
Good news, bad news for Trump when it comes to these 54 delegates
The good news for Trump is that he has a real chance to win over a solid number of these 54 unbound delegates. Earlier this month, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reached out to the 162 candidates running to be an unbound delegate, and the newspaper found that a good chunk of them said they'd vote for whoever wins the congressional district. Also, NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell reports that Trump is arguably running the most active campaign for these delegates. "John Schnaedter, chair of the Allegheny Republican Party in southwest Pennsylvania, said that delegate contact from the Trump team began early. None of the campaigns have reached out to us other than Trump's,' he said." The bad news for Trump is that these people could change their mind. "The Cruz campaign is pushing a slate of Cruz-loyalists for 26 of the 54 unbound slots up for the taking. It says others eligible on the ballot to become delegates, particularly longtime state activists able to win on their name alone, have committed to Cruz as well. Cruz has personally met with several of the potential delegates." Here's where the overall GOP delegate race stands:
Trump holds a 286-delegate lead over Cruz
Posted by Barbara at 12:24 PM