Who Will Get the Unpledged Delegates at the GOP Convention in July?
It appears unlikely that either Trump or Cruz will get to the magic number of 1,237 delegates to garner the Republican presidential nomination on the first ballot in Cleveland in July. At that point, the “unpledged delegates” will become potentially critical in the nomination process. But, also there are three other important groups of delegates that might give the nomination to Trump or Cruz.
Some delegates are pledged to candidates who have suspended their campaigns. These delegates are the so-called “orphaned delegates.” In addition, some delegates are “pledged to be uncommitted.”
Indeed, how will the unpledged, pledged to be uncommitted, and orphaned delegates vote in Cleveland? Plus, what about the “non-aligned delegates” who support some candidate other than the primary winners in their respective States? What’s going on with all these delegates?
Let’s face it. This is an historic and critical presidential election. It will include an historic and potentially unpredictable Republican National Convention. Candidates, supporters, voters, delegates – everybody seems to have a strong opinion on who can get elected and who should be nominated.
Currently, there are about 81 delegates expected to go into the convention unpledged. For example, there are Pennsylvania’s 54 unpledged delegates (18 Congressional Districts times 3). They are unpledged because of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania’s Rules that require CD delegates to be unpledged. Other unpledged delegates are from Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, American Somoa, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.
Orphan delegates arise when allocated delegates are pledged to a candidate who has suspended his or her campaign. There are currently 189 orphaned delegates as follows:
- Marco Rubio – 173
- Ben Carson – 9
- Jeb Bush – 4
- Carly Fiorina – 1
- Mike Huckabee – 1
- Rand Paul – 1
“Pledged to be Uncommitted” Delegates
Some delegates are pledged to be uncommitted. There are 11 such delegates now. They are from Louisiana, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and the Virgin Islands.
These delegates are controversial this year because it might be a contested election. Their legitimacy might raise floor fights in the Credentials Committee and on the floor of the convention. These are delegates selected with the encouragement of particular presidential campaigns (primarily the Cruz campaign), following the rules, yet not in direct alignment with State primary or caucus results. Some become available on subsequent ballots. The latter delegates will shift away from other candidates starting on the second ballot.
My estimate is that non-aligned delegates might make up about 150 delegates before the convention.
Example of Non-Aligned Delegates
Maine is a closed caucus, proportional State with 23 Delegates. It is not a winner-take-all State. Cruz carried Maine with 50.6% of the vote on Saturday, March 5th in Maine’s Municipal Caucuses. Maine’s delegate allocation formulas appear to offer differing ways to compute delegate allocation. One method was used. After the statewide caucuses, 12 delegates were allocated to the winner Cruz, 9 to Trump, and 2 to Kasich. These numbers have been reported by various media sources.
However, the delegate slate was subsequently determined at the Republican State Convention on Saturday, April 23rd. It appears that the final delegation selected included non-aligned delegates as follows: 19 to Cruz, 1 to Trump. Once again, Cruz appears to have a superior ground game and got more of his supporters named as delegates.
For More Information on This Year’s Presidential Election plus Ten Surprising Predictions
Please read my new book Great News for America. In it, I make ten surprising predictions that will probably come true before, during, and after the 2016 presidential election. Available on Kindle and other e-book devices.