Trump likely to collect more than 50 of Pa.’s 71 delegates
Republican Donald Trump is likely to collect more than 50 of Pennsylvania’s 71 delegates from his landslide win here Tuesday, based on responses to a Tribune-Review survey of delegates who appear to be headed to the GOP convention.
Pinning down an exact number is difficult, if not impossible, based on the Pennsylvania GOP’s unique delegate rules and the fiercely independent approaches of some of its delegate-elects.
“I remain completely committed to being uncommitted,” said Aaron J. Cohen, 41, of Philadelphia, one of three delegate winners in the 2nd congressional district, according to unofficial results.
Trump’s win guarantees him only 17 delegates, who were appointed by the Republican Party and are required to cast their convention votes for the statewide winner. With 99 percent of Pennsylvania’s precincts reporting Wednesday afternoon, Trump had 57 percent of the state’s GOP primary votes, compared with 22 percent for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and 19 percent for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Cohen was one of 54 Republicans elected Tuesday from a field of 162 candidates to represent Pennsylvania at July’s GOP convention in Cleveland, according to unofficial tallies. These elected delegates are “unbound,” meaning they will be able to vote to nominate whomever they want regardless of the primary results.
“In politics, things can change dramatically in two weeks, let alone two or three months,” Cohen said, explaining why he is adamant about not lining up behind any candidate.
The Trib reached out to all of the candidates in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s primary and got responses from 142 of them.
Among Tuesday’s winners, 36 said they would cast their first convention ballot for Trump or whoever won their respective congressional district. Nine delegates said they were uncommitted; seven did not respond or declined to comment; and three said they would support Cruz.
In an odd twist, Kasich could wind up with a delegate even though no delegate candidates who spoke with the Trib said they’d support him.
PennLive reported that Kasich appears to have won the popular vote in Cohen’s 2nd congressional district, which includes parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. A spokeswoman for Pennsylvania’s Department of State said it wouldn’t finish tabulating results by congressional district for about another week.
Another delegate-elect from Cohen’s district, Elizabeth Havey of Lower Merion Township, told the Trib a month ago that she was “committed to voting on the first ballot at the very least for the candidate who wins my congressional district.”
Havey added: “The polls indicate now that John Kasich may win my district. If he wins and then doesn’t make it past the first ballot, I would need to pick between Trump and Cruz. I have not made up my mind on who to pick,” said Havey, who did not return messages Wednesday.
Trump has collected an estimated 954 delegates in the race, including Pennsylvania’s 17 guaranteed delegates, according to The Associated Press. Cruz has 562 delegates, and Kasich has 153. A presidential candidate needs 1,237 delegates to secure the Republican nomination.
Tom Fontaine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7847 or [email protected]