Most of Pa.'s unbound GOP delegates stand with Trump

Greg Gross

Donald Trump not only received a sweeping win in Pennsylvania's Republican primary, he also picked up a large number of delegates — including three from York and nearby counties.

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump speaks during his rally at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg Thursday. Amanda J. Cain photo

Though the state's 54 unbounded delegates-elect can vote any way they choose at what's expected to be a contested convention in Cleveland, an overwhelming majority said they'll vote for Trump.

canvass of the winners by The Associated Press after last Tuesday's primary found that 40 intend to vote for Trump, propelling him closer to the support he needs to win the nomination on the first vote at the convention in July.

Three of those delegates are from the 4th Congressional District, which includes York and Adams counties and parts of Cumberland and Dauphin counties.  Matthew Jansen of North Codorus Township, Joe Sacco of Shrewsbury and Marc Scaringi of Cumberland County pledged their allegiance to Trump well before voters headed to the polls.

"Like I promised, I will vote for Trump for as many rounds as it takes," Sacco said.

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Supporters: About two-thirds of those 40 Pennsylvania delegates were Trump supporters from the start; the rest said they would support him because he won their congressional district. Four are expected to vote for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, nine are uncommitted, and one is waiting for a final tally in her congressional district.

Several Trump supporters reported getting significant logistical help from Trump's team during their own campaigns to become delegates. Trump took 57 percent of the Republican vote statewide and won all 67 counties, and the strength of that performance also has delegates committing to him.

"The 4th (Congressional District) was definitely, for some reason, was a focal point for them at the Trump campaign," said Jansen, a longtime Trump supporter. "I think it doesn't take a lot of political savviness to figure out the mood of the country."

Much had been made of the Keystone State's unbounded delegates' potential influence at a contested convention. But as each primary comes and goes, Jansen and Sacco said they believe Trump will secure the needed 1,237 delegates before party officials meet in July.

As of Monday, Trump had 996 delegates, leaving him just 241 delegates short of locking up the nomination.

"My feelings have always been more people need to participate in government," said Jansen, a member of the Spring Grove school board. "When it comes to the power, it is in the hands of the people. They put the politicians in office."

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Uncommitted: "Truly uncommitted" delegate Gordon Denlinger of Ephrata, Lancaster County, a former state lawmaker who is now a managing partner of a venture capital firm, said he'll give great weight to how his district in the heart of Amish country voted — Trump won it with 44 percent.

But he's also weighing factors such as electability, leadership and adherence to conservative principles.

Scott Uehlinger, a retired CIA operations officer and retired naval officer, did not emphasize his support for Trump during the campaign, instead promising to cast his vote however his district voted. Like the rest of Pennsylvania, his district went for Trump.

"The people's choice was Trump, and I have no problem with it," said Uehlinger, who lives near Allentown, Lehigh County.

Pennsylvania will also send 17 other people to the convention who will be bound to vote for Trump, as the statewide winner, on the first ballot.

Democrats: Though it's already clear who the Republican delegates from the 4th Congressional District are, the same can't be said for the Democratic delegation.

The party's method of selecting its 127 elected delegates is based on the popular vote in congressional districts, and its gender rule and vote tallies for delegates must also be factored in. An equal number of men and women will make up the six-member delegation from the 4th Congressional District.

"We'll know when the (Pennsylvania) Department of State certifies the results," Preston Maddock, spokesman for the state Democratic Party, wrote in an email.

In York County, the popular vote was nearly split down the middle between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. The results will be certified in the coming weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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