Pennsylvania’s Delegates Are Not Really Uncommitted

Pennsylvania Delegates Are Not Really Uncommitted

Pennsylvania has 17 at large delegates that are winner-take-all. It also has 54 delegates, three from each of 18 congressional districts, which, on the ballot, have no stated commitment. They can vote for whomever they want at the convention, on any round of voting. has delegate slates for both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.  Apparently, Trump and Cruz have been getting their supporters to run to become delegates since January.  Remember, a fully prepared candidate would have three supporters running in 18 districts, or 54 supporters running.

Of the 18 districts, Ted Cruz has 28 candidates in 14 districts, for an average of two per district in which he has any, and missing 4 districts.  He only has three delegates in three districts.  One district has 5 delegates for him, which is not only overkill, but will split votes and maybe lead to a Trump win there.

Trump has 41 candidates in 15 districts, which is 2.7 per district where he has candidates.   He has no delegates in three districts, only one delegate in one district, only two delegates in two districts.  Trump appears well ahead in recruitment.

If either Cruz or Trump is favored in a district, they can take all three delegates in the district, or Cruz can take two plus one committed to vote for the leader on the first ballot.  So each candidate can get all three, making it the same as a winner-take-all district.  So Pennsylvania goes from an uncommitted delegate state to a largely winner-take-all state.

Where is Kasich?  On April 10, his campaign sent out an erroneous statement that Pennsylvania”s districts awarded delegates proportionately.  How far this mistake is imbedded in his campaign is unknown.  Newsworks called all delegates, and found out that, of those responding, only 1% would vote for Kasich.

However, many delegates are local office holders who may well get elected based on their popularity, or even lack of a committment to one delegate, but only to the winner of their district.

However, only a few are running uncommitted. The Philadelphia Enquirer has a list of the candidates in five districts in and around Philadelphia. Some districts have one candidate for Trump and one for Cruz. Most are listed as supporting the district winner on the first ballot. One is listed supporting the state winner on the first ballot.  A voter can vote for three in the district that they are in, since three delegates will be elected for each district.

The Morning Call, a Tribune paper for Lehigh Valley news, called all 162 candidates for delegates.  Many did not answer.  They printed the preferences or decisions for those that did.  Among those that did, 49 will vote for the district leading vote getter, which is about a third of the candidates.  30 are committed to Trump.  22 are committed to Cruz.  Several districts have many candidates for Trump or Cruz or both.  21 are uncommitted.  A few are going to vote for the statewide winner.  That sums to 122 plus candidates.  Maybe the rest will call back later.

Those candidates committed to the district winner may be splitting such votes if there are several in the district, and if they are not well known. Knowing what combination election mailings are like, since there are primary races in other state and congressional offices, the mailers for Trump, Cruz, or Kasich may include the list of the district delegate candidates that support them, and thus concentrate the vote to get them elected as delegates.  Cruz and Trump each have a statewide slate of candidates.

I strongly suspect that most of the uncommitted delegates will be effectively committed after the voting on April 26, and that their breakdown will look something like the state popular vote.  Pennsylvania has added an odd twist.  They are not going to announce the district vote Presidential results for a week, so we won’t know the delegate total preferences until then.

Philadelphia has wonderful tourist sites, including Independence Hall, where the Constitution was signed, the Liberty Bell, nearby streets of Colonial buildings in the Historic District, the Ben. Franklin Museum, and many others. I am waiting to see if any candidate is fit enough to jog up the 72 steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in boxing gloves, like Rocky Balboa did. It could be a triumphant moment.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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