The varied rules of the Republican Party will be on full display Tuesday when it comes to winning delegates for the national GOP convention, as Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island deliver their verdict on the Republican race, with Donald Trump favored to win the vote in all five states.
But the most important numbers on Tuesday night will certainly be the delegates, and whether these results keep Trump on track to win the GOP nomination.
And these five states all do things differently.
PENNSYLVANIA – The Keystone State has the most devilish rules when it comes to GOP delegates. If you win the overall vote, you get 17 delegates of 71 delegates. But then there are 54 other delegates to be elected directly by the voters. This is what is commonly called a “loophole” primary.
For example, here is the sample ballot in Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District:
So, look to the right – which three delegates do you vote for? If you don’t do your homework before going into the voting booth, you won’t know who these delegate candidates would support at the Republican National Convention.
In this district, Trump has been endorsed by Buckwalter and Lightcap; the Werts are on the Cruz slate, as is Kichline.
Ryan Costello also happens to be the local Congressman – he says he will back the district winner of the Presidential primary in Tuesday’s vote; Hager and Stohler have said much the same.
The bottom line is that there could be some eenie-meenie-miney-moe voting in Pennsylvania – if you don’t know who the delegates are supporting.
Trump does not have a full slate of delegates in Pennsylvania, as this flyer from the campaign clearly shows:
This is the Cruz slate of delegates in Pennsylvania:
MARYLAND – The Old Line State is the second biggest delegate prize for Republicans on Tuesday, with 38 delegates. 14 go to the statewide winner, with the other 24 distributed three apiece to the winner of an individual Congressional district.
Maryland makes it easy on the voter, as the ballot states the candidate that the delegate will support, unless they are uncommitted.
But the Maryland delegate ballot is also filled with all sorts of delegates for candidates who left the field long ago – Bush, Carson, Fiorina, Rubio and Christie all have delegates on the ballot.
CONNECTICUT – The Nutmeg State offers 28 delegates for the GOP race, with the chance for a big bonus if you get over 50 percent of the vote statewide. A majority gives you 13 delegates, otherwise, the delegates are handed out proportionally to those getting over 20 percent of the vote.
Connecticut also deals out 15 delegates – three each – from its five Congressional districts. You win the district vote, you get those three delegates.
As for who will ultimately become a delegate, Connecticut is one of the few states that allows the Presidential candidates to hand pick delegates for the national convention, with the final approval of the state GOP.
RHODE ISLAND – 19 delegates are available in the Ocean State, which also allows voters to vote directly for both the candidates and the delegates to the national convention.
Rhode Island hands out 13 statewide delegates proportionally to those candidates who get more than 10 percent of the vote.
There are also 6 delegates, three each from two Congressional districts. Here are some of the ballot choices in Rhode Island:
But Rhode Island Republicans also have a somewhat unique way of awarding delegates, which may result in Trump, Cruz and Kasich dividing the delegates 1-1-1 in each district.
The only way you can sweep the three district delegates is to get more than 67 percent of the vote. That seems unlikely to happen.
DELAWARE – The First State gives 16 delegates to the GOP winner – a true “winner-take-all” primary result.
172 delegates are at stake for the GOP – another big step on the road to this summer’s convention.