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2016 PA Presidential Delegate Breakdown

white-house-north-2007-djWe’ve now entered 2016 and are less than a month away from the Iowa Caucus.

With Pennsylvania’s presidential primaries suddenly visible in the distance, this is a great time to examine how each party determines the number of delegates that the Keystone State will get.

Note: A major tip of the hat to The Green Papers for these numbers.

Democratic Primary

The process of determining the number of delegates a state gets in the Democratic primary is exceptionally complicated. Nevertheless, we’ll try to simplify the system as much as possible (you can read a more detailed explanation here).

There are three types of delegates: pledged, unpledged and bonus.

For pledged delegates, the vote totals that the Democratic nominees in 2004, 2008 and 2012 received in each state are totaled and run through a mathematical formula. In the end, the 9,204,732 Pennsylvania votes for John Kerry and Barack Obama results in 189 pledged delegates.

PA also has quite a few unpledged delegates, or “superdelegates”, as they’re more commonly known. 13 DNC members from the Keystone State get a vote as does Governor Wolf, Senator Casey and PA’s five Democrats House members. There’s also an extra delegate under the “distinguished party leaders” column (former Gov. and DNC Chair Ed Rendell perhaps?). Altogether, the state gets 21 superdelegates.

Finally, there are the bonus delegates. In an attempt to prevent the front-loading of primaries, the party rewards states and territories for holding back. So the later the primary or caucus, the bigger the reward. States are also encouraged to “cluster” their contest, i.e. convince neighbors to hold their elections on the same day. The goal is to create as many regional primaries as possible. Therefore, Pennsylvania gets a 15% bonus for holding their primary on the same day as Maryland and Delaware. The result is 34 bonus delegates.

When added together, Pennsylvania holds 210 out of the 4,764 total delegates or just over 4.4%.

Republican Primary

The Republican Party has a much simpler process (if you’d like, though, you can delve into it here), but like their rivals they also have three types of delegates: electoral, party leaders and bonus.

Electoral delegates are determined by a state’s representation in Congress. Each state gets 10 votes off the bat (five for each Senator) and another three votes for each member of the House of Representatives. Since PA has 18 Congressmen that amounts to 54 votes. Combined, we get 64 electoral delegates. It’s interesting that Republicans dole out their main slate of delegates based on congressional districts, regardless of whether their party holds all of those seats or not.

The party leaders category is simply enough. Every state and territory has three, their national committeeman, national committeewoman, and the party chair. They all get to go to the convention and vote.

Finally, bonus delegates are somewhat similar to superdelegates yet some important distinctions remain. Most of them go to states that voted for the Republican nominee in the last election, thus excluding Pennsylvania. The commonwealth does pick one up, though, because of Sen. Toomey and another one since over half the state’s House delegation is Republican. Additionally, the GOP majorities in the State House and State Senate net PA another two delegates. So in total, the Republicans grant Pennsylvania four bonus delegates.

After all three categories are added together, the commonwealth emerges with 71 delegates out of a total of 2,472 or about 2.9%.

The Pennsylvania presidential primary is scheduled for April 26th.  

21 Responses

  1. whoah this blog is wonderful i love studying your posts. Keep up the great paintings! You already know, lots of persons are looking around for this info, you could help them greatly.

  2. I just heard on CNN that tomorrow’s ballot’s in PA identify the delegates who support the Democratic nominees,but not so for the Republicans….something is very wrong with the GOP system as the PA voter could enter the booth, vote for their candidate and then vote for a delegate who doesn’t support your choice for President. The system needs to be fixed. Please search the website to find out who supports who in your district before you enter the booth to cast your vote….I have to agree with Trump, the system is “rigged!”

  3. We want to know who the delegates for Cumberland County, Pa support. In other words, which delegates support Trump?

  4. I am in district#14 Allegheny County who are the delegates who will support Mr Trump

  5. After several hours of searching for the list of GOP Delegates for the Pennsylvania Primary, committed and uncommitted, and coming away with nothing, I have to agree with Donald trump; the system is “rigged”. The only way to determine the direction of a delegate in this goofy system is to become a delegate. At least that way, I will know of one delegate and his allegiance. For now, my vote appears to count for nothing. Mark Twain said it best, “If your vote counted for something, they wouldn’t let you vote.” (paraphrased)

  6. I am a republican and plan to vote in the state primary however my Wife, who is also a Republican, will be traveling on business and plans to fill out an Absentee ballot. On the form the delegates are listed however how do you know who they favor or plan to select? I am sure we will see the same when we votethe end of the month. Please advise, thank you.

  7. As a Republican in Penna., I have come to feel that my vote is meaningless given the uncommited nature of
    republican delegates who also are not accountable in any
    way for whom them support. As Trump has referenced, and
    with whom I agree, the “rigging” of the delegate voting
    process seems absolutely true. The powerful behind-the-
    scene money interests, the “power brokers” who are the
    Establishment, will have total control of who is “elected”
    in the delegate camp. Having been ignorant for so many
    years, I fell helpless to make ANY kind of difference with

  8. How can we vote for Republican Delegates, when we know nothing about them? I hope they’re reading this, because if the delegate nominee does not reflect the spirit of PA voters, I am voting for Gary Busey in 2016.

  9. I have complete information on the presidential election process on my non-partisan website. I also am compiling a listing of who delegate candidates support (starting with NEPA, where I live.)

  10. Hillary Clinton is the brilliant..She is also a good a decent lady who jas been helping families and kids her whole life.Everything you need to know is out there for anyone to look up and read.Bernie sanders is not a democrat and either are his fans.You can’t DEMAND things OR MAKE wall street or rich people do anything.We are a democratic society and WE vote for things!!!I personally don’t want other people’s money.Just pay their fair share of taxes.bernie and his people are nothing but bullies.I liked him in the beginning but not now.My vote goes to Clinton..

  11. I urge all those holding superdelegates to pledge them to Bernie Sanders. I am a voter and have been for the last 24 years. I will not vote for anyone in the future that doesn’t plege their superdelegates to Bernie Sanders. I will also encourage all friends, family and people I come in contact to do the same. Thanks for reading this and for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.

    Jonathan Fennick

  12. One interesting note. The Republican voters in Pennsylvania have virtually no say over who they vote for. Their Presidential vote literally doesn’t count – it is a “beauty pageant” only. ALL PA Delegates are uncommitted, just like the Democratic super delegates. They can vote for whoever they want, they do not need to say who they are voting for, and the ballot will not indicate if they are committed to a particular candidate. The voters basically have no clue who they are voting for! This is a REALLY bad situation that should really be changed. Pennsylvania is the only state in the union in which the delegates are uncommitted (again, Republican only.) I have a non-partisan website that goes into detail and is intended to help PA voters at the polls –

  13. Please stop ignoring the the people that elected you. With your vote you can show us if our votes really matters, if this is still a democracy. Bernie Sanders have the power to unify this country and the people believe it. Delegates should stand by the people.

  14. Dear Super-delegate,
    As a Super-delegate, you wield significant influence over the selection of the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. It is my opinion that it is very wrong for you to pledge your support to a candidate before the primary season even begins. You are basically telling the electorate that you don’t care about their wishes, and you have the right to do whatever you wish regardless of their input. If you are currently uncommitted,, good for you;
    I respect your willingness to wait and listen to the electorate.
    I hope that when the time comes, you will have paid attention to the hordes of people who are coming out by the thousands in support of Bernie Sanders. The fact is that if having a Democrat in the White House is your main objective, then Hillary Clinton is NOT the way to go. Here’s why :
    Voters don’t trust her as has been demonstrated in survey after survey. They trust Bernie; he says what he means and he doesn’t change according to which way the wind blows.
    Voters don’t like her. (again – check the surveys) They like Bernie because they know he is on their side and he is honest and compassionate.
    Independents in the general election will play a significant role and they have been shown to have very strong support for Bernie.
    Many Republicans, who are very anti-Trump, can be swayed to vote for Bernie. I can’t imagine any of my Republican friends who would vote for Hillary – She just has too much history. They just would not vote.
    Hillary is a warhawk…She voted for the Iraq war. Yes, she has since said that was a mistake, but hindsight is always 20/20. She and Bernie reviewed the same information, and Bernie had the necessary judgement to vote against that horrible war.
    Hillary is indebted to Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry, and other moneyed entities. Bernie owes nothing to anyone except the thousand of supporters who rally around him and his future to believe in. It is interesting that Hillary went around the world to encourage the use of fracking, but now she is not too sure about that – I wonder why – could it be that the people and Bernie are against it, and to favor it might cost her some votes. She also supported the TPP….until she didn’t.

    All of the polls show that Bernie would defeat any of the Republican candidates by double digits….

    The choice is clear – If you want to win the White House rather than adhere to some party affiliation, you need to cast your super-delegate ballot for Bernie Sanders.

    Thank you for your attention.

    Anne Harper

  15. I wish to voice my affection for your kindness for men and women that need assistance with this important situation. Your real commitment to getting the solution all through turned out to be pretty beneficial and has without exception encouraged folks like me to get to their dreams. Your personal valuable help indicates a whole lot to me and even more to my peers. Thanks a lot; from all of us.

  16. The Democratic delegate numbers don’t add up: 189 Pledged + 21 Super + 34 Bonus delegates = 244 delegates, not 210 as the article states.

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