Republican Party Opens Shortened Convention as Storm Skirts Florida

Posted August 27th, 2012 at 9:30 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is set to arrive in Tampa, Florida Tuesday, as the storm-shortened Republican National Convention gets into full swing .

Campaign aides confirmed that Mr. Romney will fly in Tuesday, although they refused to say whether he will be in attendance when his wife Ann speaks.

The Republican Party formally opened its nominating convention Monday but postponed most of the proceedings as Tropical Storm Isaac skirted the coastline of Florida, the southeastern state hosting the event. The storm's strong winds and heavy rains have forced some airports in the southeastern U.S. to close. Officials also called for voluntary evacuations along the coast.

Romney aide Russ Schriefer told reporters in Tampa the campaign is concerned about the people in the path of the storm and may revise the convention's schedule again.

Some Republicans have expressed concern that Isaac could overshadow the event if it makes a destructive landfall on the Gulf Coast later this week. They said such a development may prompt the party to tone down the gathering's celebratory nature.

The Republican governor of the Gulf Coast state of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, canceled his planned convention speech, saying he was staying home to deal with the prospect of Isaac hitting the state as a hurricane this week.

A Washington Post opinion poll published Monday shows President Barack Obama, the Democratic incumbent, and Mr. Romney in a tight race for the November presidential election. It says Mr. Romney has the support of 47 percent of likely voters compared to 46 percent for Mr. Obama — little changed from early July's figures.