Trump adds delegates in PA, strengthening path to nomination
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A day after sweeping five primaries, Donald Trump kept rolling Wednesday, picking up endorsements from an additional 33 delegates in Pennsylvania to give him a total of 80 percent of the number of delegates needed to win the Republican nomination.
For the first time, the New York billionaire now has a majority of the delegates awarded so far. He needs just 48 percent of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination and avoid a contested convention.
Trump won the Pennsylvania primary, which guaranteed him 17 delegates. An additional 54 delegates were elected directly by voters – three in each congressional district. These delegates are free to support the candidate of their choice.
The Associated Press has confirmed that at least 33 of them plan to support Trump. They can, however, change their minds.
“Oh my goodness, I’m voting for Donald Trump on every ballot, if there’s a hundred ballots,” said Lee Snover, who was endorsed by the Trump campaign in her northeastern district. “The only way I won’t vote for him is if he takes himself out of it.”
Seven delegates have remained uncommitted, primarily those in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia congressional districts. The AP is still working to contact the others.
Trump won the Pennsylvania primary Tuesday by more than 35 percentage points over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Ohio Gov. John Kasich came in third.
Cruz and Kasich are mathematically eliminated from clinching the nomination before the party’s national convention this summer. Their only hope is to block Trump and force a contested convention in which no one has a majority of the delegates.
Trump now has 80 percent of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the convention.
Some delegates had pledged to support the winner of their congressional district, but had not envisioned such a strong victory by Trump in Pennsylvania.
“This man Trump blew everybody off the spectrum, he won every single county in Pennsylvania,” said Ash Khare, a former regional state party official in northwestern Pennsylvania. “And I don’t know about you, but in my political career since 1982, I have never seen anybody win every single county.”
In moderate southeastern Pennsylvania, delegate Joan Miller said she had pledged to support the winner of her congressional district.
“That was our platform and we believe in Democracy and we’re the voice of the people that voted for us,” Miller said. “We’re not going to change our mind.”
The AP delegate count:
Needed to win: 1,237.