- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 25, 2012

TAMPA, Fla. — With a hurricane poised to creep along the Florida coast over the next few days, Republicans on Saturday canceled the first night of their nominating convention, slated for Monday, and said they’ll pick up on Tuesday.

“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,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

That means a three-day convention running Tuesday through Thursday, with Monday’s events pushed back and the schedule rearranged.

The weather reports suggest that Tuesday could still be dicey, though the convention’s CEO said he can “think of no reason” why they won’t be able to begin on Tuesday.

It’s the second convention in a row where the GOP has canceled Monday’s events because of weather. Four years ago, though Republicans were meeting hundreds of miles away in St. Paul, Minn., they cut short their Monday activities because of a storm that seemed poised to hit New Orleans.

Republican officials now must scramble to try to get alternate housing available for delegates who may end up in flooded areas.

Evacuations are still a possibility, according to hotels in the area.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who was scheduled to be in Florida for part of the GOP’s convention, has already canceled those visits. President Obama’s campaign said they didn’t want the vice president to get in the way of emergency preparations.

The GOP’s program on Monday was to include the official nomination of Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan as Republicans’ presidential and vice presidential candidates, as well as speeches by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Rand Paul and the key address of the evening from Mr. Romney’s wife, Ann.

Four-day conventions used to be standard but with less drama now that the nominations are all sewed up well in advance, Democrats have decided to hold a three-day convention beginning Sept. 4.

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