Wednesday, April 13, 2016

GOP nomination could turn on unbound delegates

 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review delegate poll
The battle for the Republican presidential nomination could come down to the votes of unbound delegates at the Republican National Convention, Philip Rucker reports for The Washington Post. Among states still picking delegates, Pennsylvania has 54 unbound slots and West Virginia 31. "Other states and territories, from Colorado to Wyoming to Guam, will also send squads of unbound representatives. These are the swing voters of the GOP nominating contest, nearly 200 activists and elected leaders beholden to nothing except their personal judgment and empowered to make or break candidacies."

Businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have been re-focusing their attention on undecided delegates, Rucker writes. Trump's campaign recently opened an office in Charleston, W.Va., "and is trying to persuade more delegate candidates to commit to Trump. Allies are arguing that Trump would be best to guide coal country out of its chronic economic despair." Cruz's campaign "has methodically recruited supporters to run as unbound delegates in places such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia and plans an intense push to persuade those who will have a vote on the convention floor."

Three of West Virginia's delegates have already been selected— two say they will vote for the candidate that wins the state's popular vote on May 10—but the other 31 delegates will not be selected until the primary, Hoppy Kercheval reports for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. "Three delegates will be chosen from each of the three congressional districts in the primary election. The final 22 are called at-large delegates. There are 220 candidates for those 22 positions. Like the other delegates, each will have the presidential candidate they support next to their name, unless they are uncommitted. While they are elected statewide, no more than seven can come from each congressional district, for a total of 21, and no more than two can come from the same county. Additionally, the top vote-getter statewide wins a delegate spot."

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review did a poll and got responses from 110 of the 162 people running to be delegates from Pennsylvania, by congressional district. It found that 61 of the 110 said they would vote for the candidate who wins statewide or in their respective congressional districts in the April 26 primary, Tom Fontaine and Salena Zito report for the Tribune-Review. "Nearly one-third—or 32 of them—said they are committed to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich or Marco Rubio, who has dropped out."

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