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Trump Wins Big Among Pennsylvania's Unbound Delegates

Donald Trump dominated the fight for the state's 54 unbound delegates to the GOP convention -- making his path to the nomination much easier.
Image: US Republican candidate Donald Trump speaks about five-state primary voting results in New York, New York
Donald Trump discusses primary voting results from the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, during a speech in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City on April 26.JUSTIN LANE / EPA

Donald Trump won a sweeping victory in the Pennsylvania primary and, more importantly, he dominated the fight for the state's 54 unbound delegates to the GOP convention -- making his path to obtaining the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination much easier.

NBC News reached out to all 54 delegate winners after the polls closed Tuesday night. Interviews reveal that as of Thursday morning 37 delegates said they intend to support Trump on the first ballot at the convention -- a number that could rise north of 40 when the final ten delegates are reached.

Trump's delegate haul is an impressive feat for the candidate who has largely ignored the convoluted and intricate delegate process.

In comparison, rival Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has so far only obtained the support of two delegates and Gov. John Kasich received none.

Eight delegates remain uncommitted to any candidate. They have until the first ballot at the convention to decide their vote (and any of the 54 could technically change their minds any time before that first vote).

Of the 35 delegates who said they’d support Trump, 25 won their election to be delegates Tuesday openly supporting the Republican front runner, reflecting the popular vote results in the state. This group of pro-Trump delegates are critical in the instance of an open convention and if no candidate wins a majority on the first round of voting. The pro-Trump delegates will ensure Trump has support among the most volatile group of delegates.

“I’m never going to waiver in voting for him” at the convention, said Wayne Buckwalter, a Trump supporter elected delegate in Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional district.

Related: In Pennsylvania, Cruz Campaign Recommended Delegates for Trump

For the remaining Trump delegates, the real estate mogul is not necessarily their first choice, but told NBC News that they would support Trump because he won their Congressional district.

Pennsylvania was the first state that Trump's team has actively worked to court delegates and inform voters who the Trump allies are.

And the Trump team is taking a victory lap, saying its efforts paid off in a big way.

The Trump campaign "recognized that the coattail strength of Donald Trump provided the opportunity to win the lion share of delegates if it had a significant grassroots program. We developed such a program. The results were huge," Trump adviser Paul Manafort told NBC News. "It is important to note that almost no public count included such a windfall for the Trump Campaign."

The Keystone State has a unique and complicated nominating contest where voters elected three delegates in each Congressional district to represent the district at the Republican convention. The candidates for delegate are on the ballot with no identifying characteristics or associations with a campaign, making organizing in the state even more difficult.

It was also a bad night for the stop-Trump efforts. At least two outside groups opposed to Trump, Our Principles PAC and NeverTrump PAC had been working to elect anti-Trump delegates.

NeverTrump PAC released an anti-Trump slate of delegates ahead of the vote. Of the 39 endorsements, only four of the delegates with contested races won.

MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff also contributed to this story.