TAMPA, FL.--Because of the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac--which may reach hurricane strength--Republican officials canceled Monday's first session on Saturday night.
"We can't predict how severe the wind is going to be...we have to put safety first," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a conference call.
Mitt Romney convention officials said most of the speakers scheduled over four days would be packed into three. Democrats who meet next week in Charlotte, N.C. have put together a three day convention.
Russ Schriefer, a Romney for President senior strategist--and the producer of the convention--said in the conference call that even with a day cut off the program, "we will absolutely be able to get our message out."
In a memo released Saturday night, Priebus said, "Due to the severe weather reports for the Tampa Bay area, the Republican National Convention will convene on Monday August 27th and immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, August 28th, exact time to follow."
The loss of the Monday session--where the roll of states was to be called to nominate Mitt Romney as the GOP candidate for president--comes on a day the three major networks were not planning on televising the proceedings. The roll call now will take place on Tuesday.
Because of the lack of network coverage, the Romney team on Friday already switched Ann Romney's keynote from Monday to Tuesday night.
Even if Isaac does not reach tropical storm or hurricane status, the bad weather would still create problems for the 50,000 convention visitors expected for the event.
"Officials have predicted participants may encounter severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain," Priebus said in his statement.
"The Republican National Convention will take place and officially nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and the Party has other necessary business it must address.
"We want you to know we also are remaining in constant contact with state and federal officials and may make future schedule alterations on an as needed basis," Priebus said.
He said in the conference call that if need be, some alternate housing arrangements may be made and a revised convention program expected out on Sunday.
Tampa on Saturday was overcast--with threatening clouds--with no rainfall as of 6:56 p.m. eastern time.
below, from the Republican National Committee....
DATE: August 25, 2012
FROM: RNC Chairman Reince Priebus @Reince
TO: Interested Parties
RE: RNC Convention
Due to the severe weather reports for the Tampa Bay area, the Republican National Convention will convene on Monday August 27th and immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, August 28th, exact time to follow.
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. Officials have predicted participants may encounter severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain.
The Republican National Convention will take place and officially nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and the Party has other necessary business it must address. We also are remaining in constant contact with state and federal officials and may make additional schedule alterations as needed.
The Convention staff is working around-the-clock to ensure the delegations housed in storm-impacted areas have alternative housing if needed. The Committee on Arrangements will provide additional information to delegates and alternate delegates who are affected by Isaac by Sunday morning. We will also provide guidance to those delegates and alternate delegates who may encounter travel difficulties due to the storm.
We will begin issuing revised convention programming as early as Sunday.
We have an experienced team that will ensure changes are operationally smooth and create as little disruption as possible. The most important concern is safety, but our Convention program will proceed.