TAMPA -- After consulting with Gov. Rick Scott, national weather forecasters and local emergency management officials, the heads of the Republican National Committee and the Republican National Convention on Saturday announced it was postponing most of its scheduled events Monday to avoid endangering delegates as Tropical Storm Isaac threatens Florida.
The convention will officially convene on Monday, but then immediately go into recess until Tuesday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said Saturday.
“Our first priority is ensuring the safety of delegates, alternates, guests, members of the media attending the Republican National Convention, and citizens of the Tampa Bay area. RNC Convention officials and the Romney campaign are working closely with state, local and federal officials, as well as the Secret Service, to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac and preserve Florida's emergency management resources,” he said in a statement. “Officials have predicted participants may encounter severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain.”
All scheduled speeches, including the roll call vote to officially nominate Mitt Romney as the Republican’s nominee will now take plan on Tuesday, the second scheduled day of the convention, organizers said.
Earlier Saturday, Scott had cancelled his Monday night speech as well as all other RNC-related activities through Monday.
“We prepare for storms like this every day in Florida and all visitors and residents can be assured that they will be safe in the Sunshine State,” Scott said in a statement. “As Governor of this great state, I am responsible for all 19 million residents and visitors and it is my duty to make sure we can quickly respond to the regions affected.”
The delegate party continues as planned for Sunday night, the organizers said, and no delegations have cancelled travel plans. But fear of wind speeds that could reach 80 mph in a possible Category 1 hurricane have convention organizers worried.
"We’re not going to put a lot delegates on a bunch of buses over Tampa Bay when we don’t know how severe the wind is going to be,’’ an RNC spokesman told reporters in a conference call late Saturday.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said that the convention will recess until Tuesday afternoon at which time, he said, "we are optimistic that we will begin an exciting, robust convention that will nominate the Romney-Ryan ticket.”
Scott said he spoke to Romney Saturday and "briefed him on the storm and possible impact to the state."
He noted that because "storm forecasts can and do change,’’ he encouraged everyone to be careful and wary. "Residents and visitors from the Florida Keys to the Panhandle need to make sure they have food and water for 72 hours and to check http://www.floridadisaster.org/ for up-to-date information,’’ he said. “Experts at the local, state and federal level prepare for storms like this every day. All visitors and residents can be assured every precaution will be taken to ensure their safety.”