Delegate chess: How delegates are won in the remaining GOP contests

With some of the biggest primaries in the Republican race in the rearview, the remaining contests are moving into focus – each with its own set of rules that the remaining candidates will need to navigate.

Here's how it breaks down:


Out of the remaining states, the following states are winner-take-all, meaning the winner gets all delegates on the line: Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey and Delaware.

Of these, Arizona and New Jersey represent the biggest hauls, with 58 and 51 delegates available, respectively. While New Jersey doesn't vote until June, the Arizona primary is this coming Tuesday. Expect the candidates to fight hard for victories in these states, as they did in Ohio and Florida this past Tuesday. For Ted Cruz, who is currently playing catch-up with frontrunner Donald Trump, even the narrowest of leads would help him accrue delegates fast.


Some states have their delegates allocated proportionally, meaning a second- or third-place finish could still be worth delegates.

Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and Rhode Island all assign delegates relative to the amount of votes picked up.


Others use a hybrid system, going by a complex set of rules that are neither winner-take-all nor proportional. They are: California, Wisconsin, Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Connecticut.

Out of the “hybrids,” California is the most significant, bringing with it a massive haul of 172 delegates.

California's system is essentially winner-take-all, but with a twist. The delegates are split between congressional delegates and state-wide delegates, with three delegates assigned to Republican National Committee officials. The top candidate state-wide picks up 10 delegates, while the top candidates in each district pick up three votes per district. Indiana and Wisconsin follow a similar method of distributing their delegates.

Meanwhile in West Virginia, the 34 delegates are elected directly on the ballot, having previously specified the candidate they intend to support.

Pennsylvania, a key pickup with 71 delegates, makes 17 statewide delegates available on a winner-take-all basis, while 54 delegates are voted directly in congressional districts – yet those delegates are unbound, and can vote however they choose in the convention.

'Trigger' states

Delegates in New York and Utah, meanwhile, are allocated proportionally, but with a winner-take-all trigger. This means if a candidate gets over 50 percent of the votes, they are assigned all the delegates.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is reported to be considering staking out a heavy presence in the Empire State, will be hoping to activate that trigger, and sweep all 95 delegates there in the process – vital if he is going to mount a formidable delegate challenge to Trump.