Guide to the Pa. Republican Presidential Primary

Until Rick Santorum’s surprising win in Iowa, the first in the nation caucus, Romney was already expected to be the nominee.  Even though Romney still has a commanding lead in the delegate count, he is still far short of the 1,144 needed to secure the Republican nomination.  It is mathematically impossible for anybody to secure the nomination before Pennsylvania’s primary on April 24, so Santorum’s home state is likely to play a major role in the Republican presidential race.

So how exactly does Pennsylvania’s primary work?  Each state has its own set of rules, from open to closed primary, and different rules about if the delegates are bound to vote for the candidate who wins in their state.  Here’s how Pennsylvania’s presidential primary works:

First off, Pennsylvania has a closed primary. This means that you can only vote in the Republican presidential primary if you are registered to vote as a Republican.

Pennsylvania has 72 delegates to be awarded at the Republican National Convention.  Fifty-four of these delegates are elected by the voters- three from each of Pennsylvania’s eighteen Congressional districts.  In addition, there are three delegates who are members of the RNC (the Chairman, National Committeewoman, and National Committeeman) and ten “at-large” delegates who are appointed by the PA GOP Chairman.  Pennsylvania also has five “bonus” delegates following the 2010 elections: one for having a Republican governor, one for having a majority of the Congressional districts represented by Republicans, one each for having a majority in the State House and State Senate, plus one for having a Republican U.S. Senator.  Sixty-nine alternate delegates are also elected using the same formula (except for the three RNC members).

These delegates are all unbound; meaning, they can vote from whichever candidate they want at the National Convention in Florida this summer.  Voters will still select a presidential candidate when they cast their ballots, but it is more like what some people call a “beauty contest” election- the results will be representative of the preferences of Pennsylvania voters, but they carry no real meaning for nominating a presidential nominee.  This doesn’t mean that the outcome will be unimportant, however, because Pennsylvania is going to be a battleground state in the general election.

9 Responses

  1. Lisa, Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) on Twitter has a spreadsheet that he’s been keeping up to date that I’ve been trying to share with everybody. Just scroll through his tweets and you’ll find it.

  2. Trying to figure out which delegates support my candidate. Does anybody know who supports who? Never voted for a delegate before (that I know of) . Do not want to vote blindly

  3. This year brings it all out in the open how BOTH parties are empowering themselves to basically get over on the American public and choose who their party wants for the Republican candidate. I personally never knew how the parties made up their own rules that gives them the last say on which candidate THEY want to basically steal the power from the people. There is no real difference between the Republican and Democratic parties as they both have a global agenda in mind to drag us all down to third world status. The Republican party says they stand for Godly values and our constitution yet they are on the band wagon to ignore the will of the people. You will have to answer to the God of the bible, not the god of the greys….

  4. So how do I know which delegates are supporting my candidate, this is so unfair, how are we going to cast the correct vote, it’s probably Wolf’s way of trying to stop certain Republicans from winning If anyone knows please help

  5. Try as I may, I can’t fathom a dumber system to award delegates. We vote for (or against, as the case may be) various candidates and that vote has zero effect on the voting habits of our Republican delegates at the convention. You would think that the citizens of a state that boasts a government monopoly on the retail sale of tequila could devise a more equitable connection between one’s vote and the guy who gets it. Um, right, talked myself out of that loony idea.

  6. So how are we supposed to find out which delegates are leaning toward our candidate so we can choose the right ones since that seems to be of utmost importance?

  7. Hey JRM, what planet do you live on? Bob Asher responsible for Budd shooting himself. Obviously you have a problem with Asher or you wouldn’t waste out time on a persona attack as opposed to the issues. Maybe you’re Bruce Castor?? 😉

    Either way, Bob has helped to elect more GOP candidates and GOP county parties than just about any other single person in this state. I’d say his selection as a delegate to the GOP convention is well earned.

    And Bob G, I though you supported Rick when he was a US Senator? Are you supporting him now?

  8. Given that incumbent Rick Santorum received 797,000 fewer votes in 2006 than in 2000, one can infer that the better the voters get to know Rick Santorum, the less likely they are to vote for him.

    Rick Santorum has burned too many bridges with free market, right to work voters, anti-earmark voters to win in Pennsylvania.

    Bob Asher is not picking the Republican presidential nominee or any other Pennsylvania nominee. That is an idea that can be held by someone uninvolved in Penna. southeast politics.

  9. Anyone else think it is odd that a guy, Bob Asher, convicted for political corruption, responsible for the suicide of the state treasurer (also convicted), and imprisoned with a federal felony record, is one of the people picking the Republican nominees for president? What’s up with that?

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