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 cancelled Monday's events late Saturday to avoid endangering delegates as hurricane force winds continue to threaten Florida.
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 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,'' said on RNC spokesman in a conference call.
“Our chief priority is the safety of the residents of Florida, of those visiting the Convention, and all those in Gulf Coast states who may be impacted by Tropical Storm Isaac,'' said Republican National Convention President and CEO Bill Harris in a statement.
"We have been working closely with the campaign, the party, and state and local officials for months to ensure a successful, enjoyable convention. Federal, state and local officials assure us that they are prepared to respond, if needed, and the scheduling changes we are announcing today will help ensure the continued safety of all participants – our foremost concern. We are also committed to keeping the delegates and guests of the convention well informed about the situation, and we will continue providing updates in the hours and days ahead.”
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.”