The first day of the Republican National Convention is effectively canceled ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac, officials confirmed Saturday evening.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the convention will convene briefly Monday and then immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, once the storm is expected to have passed. He said in a statement that the party made the decision after consulting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and federal and local emergency officials.
Despite the RNC canceling Monday's event, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster told us by phone Saturday night the RNC Host Committee's Welcome Party will go on as planned at Tropicana Field near downtown Sunday night. ""We don't see any threat ... by hosting the event Sunday night," Foster said.
Priebus released a statement on the RNC relay:
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.
Less than 30 minutes before the RNC's postponement, Scott announced he would pull out of his RNC activities to focus on the storm.