What Are Pennsylvania’s Republican Delegate Rules?

shutterstock_191467916With the Republican National Convention approaching, the specter of a brokered convention looms like a mysterious cloud over the Presidential race. There’s been a lot of talk over not just which candidate will have the most delegates beforehand, but if and how each state’s delegates could change sides. Here’s a rundown of the rules for Pennsylvania, and how it impacts the overall situation.

April 26, 2016 Oregon Presidential Primary Results: 

Candidate                 Popular Vote %        Delegates Awarded

Donald Trump                  56.74%                              17

Ted Cruz                             21.62%                              0

John Kasich                       19.37%                              0

How many delegates are there? 71 delegates

Who are they? Delegates are typically active party members or local leaders. Each state also has three (3) delegates who are members of the Republican National Committee (RNC).  HERE is a list of unbound delegates via the PA Secretary of State.

How are delegates chosen? In Pennsylvania, voters in each of the state’s eighteen congressional districts elect three (3) congressional district delegates from their districts on primary day. Congressional district delegate candidates appear on the primary ballot but are not officially committed to any presidential candidate. The Pennsylvania Republican State Committee at the PAGOP Summer Meeting chooses Fourteen (14) statewide delegates. Lastly, three (3) delegates from the state are also members of the RNC.

How are delegates allocated? In Pennsylvania, the seventeen (17) statewide delegates are allocated on a winner-take-all basis to the candidate that wins the statewide popular vote in the primary. The fifty-four (54) congressional district candidates remain unbound throughout the GOP presidential nomination process- this is called a Loophole Primary.

At what point can delegates switch candidates? In Pennsylvania, the seventeen (17) statewide delegates are bound to the candidate that received the most votes in the state primary on the first ballot only. The statewide delegates are released before the first ballot if the candidate withdraws, suspends or terminates his/her campaign – or publicly releases the delegates. The fifty-four (54) congressional delegates candidates are free to support any candidate at any time.

What effect could this have on the convention? Pennsylvania’s fifty-four (54) congressional district delegates could become very influential, especially if Donald Trump needs only a handful of delegates to reach 1,237 delegates on the first ballot at the 2016 Republican National Convention.  According to the Washington Post, Trump has likely secured at least an additional 39 of the state’s 54 unbound delegates.

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