Pennsylvania has one of the most unique methods of assigning delegates in the country. The statewide winner of Tuesday’s election gets only 17 of 71 delegates. The rest are unbound and can vote for whomever they want on the first ballot at July’s convention.
U.S. Rep. Tom Marino is the chair of Donald Trump’s campaign in Pennsylvania, and he’s reaching out to those delegates to help his candidate clinch the nomination. He speaks with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.
Interview Highlights: Tom Marino
The statewide winner in Pennsylvania on the Republican side only gets 17 delegates. The rest are unbound. If the convention is contested, how much power will those Pennsylvania delegates have?
“They’re going to have a lot of power. It’s an archaic system, we need to bring it in to the 21st century. We will do that, I hope, after the election.”
What are you doing to win over those unbound delegates in Pennsylvania?
“We have probably one of the best ground games that I’ve seen. I endorsed prior to Super Tuesday. I’m communicating with county chairwomen and men to get their views and I’m not twisting arms. I think it’s important that constituents, the voters, have a right to select who they want as their presidential candidate, and there shouldn’t be handful of people in a backroom making that decision.”
What drew you to endorse Trump? Some of his comments regarding Muslims and Latinos haven’t gone down well with many of your colleagues.
“Well, first of all, Donald and I do not agree on everything and that’s why they’ve brought me on. I’m pretty much a straight shooter, a little bit of a maverick, I’ve been told. But the issue is, the establishment is afraid of Donald Trump. We’re $20 trillion in debt; businesses are leaving the country in droves. We’re not paying attention to foreign affairs, to terrorism. I want a person who has created jobs, I want a person who has signed the front of a paycheck and we, in Pennsylvania, for the most part, are tired of the establishment.”
Do you think Trump can win a general election?
“That’s an issue that we have him working on. He’s pivoting more to discussing the issues, being presidential and I think he can win because, in Pennsylvania, no matter where I go, they want someone who can create jobs and they do not want anyone that’s an establishment and Hillary Clinton is clearly a quintessential example of the establishment.”
If Trump arrives at the convention with a lead in pledged delegates, but not enough to clinch the nomination outright, and someone else is given the nomination, how will you react?
“Follow the rules. Whatever the rules are, I think he’s gonna make it to 1,237 before the convention. As long as the rules are followed, I will support the nominee for the Republican Party.”
- Tom Marino, U.S. representative for Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district. He tweets @RepTomMarino.