The opening day of the Republican National Convention has been canceled because of the impending landfall of Tropical Storm Isaac, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said Saturday, and program officials are now scrambling to cram four days worth of speakers into three.
In a conference call with reporters Saturday evening, Russ Schriefer, a senior strategist to Mitt Romney, said Romney will now likely be nominated as the Republican nominee during a roll call vote on Tuesday instead of Monday.
“We’re hoping that we’ll be able to get as many of the speakers that we have been announcing over the last several days packed them into three days as opposed to four,” he said.
Priebus explained that the convention will technically convene Monday but then immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon because of the storm. He said officials will begin releasing a revised convention programming Sunday.
The chairman acknowledged that those planning on attending the convention could have trouble getting to Tampa.
“Officials have predicted participants may encounter severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain,” Priebus said.
“The convention staff is working around the clock to ensure that the delegates that are housed around the area in storm impacted areas have alternative housing if needed,” he added, noting that the committee will “provide guidance to those delegates and alternate delegates who may encounter travel difficulties due to the storm.”
During the call, Republican National Convention President and CEO Bill Harris attempted to quell concerns that the storm would further disrupt the convention.
“We are operationally ready to run this convention in every respect,” Harris said.
But Priebus admitted it’s possible that the storm could cause further changes. “We may make future scheduling alterations and announcements on an as needed basis,” he said.
In order to feature as many speakers as possible because of the canceling of the first day, Schriefer said that once the program gets started, “There’s a possibility that we might be starting a little bit earlier [in the day] in order to accommodate as many people as possible.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott also said Saturday that he’s canceling his appearances at convention-related activities on Sunday and Monday to devote his full attention to the state.
“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,” Scott said.