Donald Trump had a huge night on Tuesday, picking up at least 110 delegates — more than 93% of those at stake — in the five Northeastern and mid-Atlantic primaries.
What might have flown under the radar, however, was his performance with Pennsylvania’s “unbound” delegation.
And that performance — he appeared to secure more than 40 of the delegates — could put him over the edge in securing the Republican presidential nomination.
Pennsylvania sends 54 of those “free agent” delegates to the convention. They are free to vote as they wish on the first ballot and each subsequent ballot.
On Tuesday night, three were elected for each of the state’s 18 congressional districts.
Many of the delegates pledged to vote for Trump or Ted Cruz, a Texas senator, or to vote along with their congressional district. Some remained uncommitted heading into Tuesday’s vote. However, an unbound delegate is not tied down by any prior pledge and can change their mind in the months leading up to the July convention.
As MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki projected last week, Trump would need about 62% of the unbound delegates to vote for him on the first ballot to secure the nomination.
Per Tuesday night’s results, Trump earned far more than that.
At least 24 delegates who pledged allegiance to Trump were elected, in addition to 18 delegates who pledged to support the winner of their congressional district. The Manhattan billionaire won each district in the state.
In addition, nine delegates who remain uncommitted were elected. Those delegates could later decide to align with Trump. Just three delegates pledged to Cruz were voted in.
So, as long as delegates keep their commitment, Trump is on track to pick up at least 42 of the 54 Pennsylvania delegates.
“We had a great, you know, a great victory there in Pennsylvania,” Trump said Wednesday morning on CNN.
“But we also signed a lot of delegates,” he added. “They’re actually signed. We had the whole signing card thing going, and we picked up many of those delegates, most of those delegates, so that we have them as opposed to waiting around to convention, and others are to come.”