Trump’s Showing in Pennsylvania Puts Him on Path to the Nomination

Trump not only won the statewide vote, he captured quite a few unbound delegates in yesterday's election as well.

Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to members of the audience during a commercial break at a CNN town hall earlier this year. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Pennsylvania awards 71 delegates to the Republican National Convention, the seventh-most of any state. But there’s a quirk in the law: Pennsylvania awards just 17 of them to the winner of the presidential primary. The other 54 delegates are elected directly by voters.

And while the Democratic primary displays the candidate each delegate is committed to, Republican delegates are elected without any indication of which candidate they’re going for, or if they’re going to vote for whoever wins in the district or statewide.

So Donald Trump’s resounding victory in the state yesterday doesn’t get him a clean sweep of delegates. But it appears he got pretty darn close. 

Trump, who won nearly 57 percent of the vote in the state, carried every county in Pennsylvania. And, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Aaron Bycoffee, the winning delegate slate is favorable to him. At least 35 of the 54 unbound delegates say they’re either voting for Trump or for their district winner.

These delegates are uncommitted, and so they’re free to change their minds and vote for Ted Cruz or John Kasich or whoever. But if Trump is close to the magic number of 1,237 delegates — he has 937 right now — he has what could be a winning argument to make to all of the state’s uncommitted delegates: I got the most delegates, I got the most votes, I should be the nominee.

Who knows how things will shake out in Cleveland this July. But his victories in all five primaries yesterday make things all the more likely Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee when it all shakes out.

Follow @dhm on Twitter.