- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Overcoming lingering concerns about his ground game, GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump collected a majority of the “unbound” delegates up for grabs in the Pennsylvania primary — denting his rivals’ hopes of winning over more of these delegates that will be free to vote for whomever they want on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention.

Mr. Trump captured at least 31 of the 54 unbound delegates up for grabs in Pennsylvania, according to a Washington Times analysis of the primary results.

The New York billionaire’s support on the first ballot is likely larger given that several of the other delegate candidates that were not committed to Mr. Trump before the primary planned to cast their first ballot for the candidate that won the popular vote in their congressional districts.

Mr. Trump also took home 17 of the winner-take-all “bound” delegates in Pennsylvania that must vote for him at the July convention after receiving more votes than Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich combined.

During an appearance on CNN “New Day” Wednesday, Mr. Trump celebrated his win and said his support among the unbound delegates out of Pennsylvania is going to grow.

“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,” he said. “So I think I heard numbers like 50-something, and we have some that are getting ready to sign.”

The anti-Trump forces downplayed Mr. Trump’s sweep of Tuesday’s five nomination contests, which also included Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island, and had already shifted their attention to the May 3 primary in Indiana.

But it was clear his rivals had hoped to build off their success in winning over delegates at other state conventions with a stronger showing among the “unbound” delegates that were individually elected by voters in Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts.

The candidates the Trump campaign identified as supporters swept three spots up for grabs in eight congressional districts.

The Trump camp, however, came up empty in three congressional districts.

The latest tally from The Associated Press shows Mr. Trump with 950 of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination on the first ballot at the July convention in Cleveland. Mr. Cruz has 560 delegates and Mr. Kasich has 153.

Mr. Kasich continues to trail Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who bowed out of the the race six weeks ago with 173 delegates following an embarrassing loss to Mr. Trump in his home state.

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