-- August 25, 2012 at 7:11 PM EDT
Republicans Delay Convention As Isaac Barrels Toward Florida
Clouds begin to move in as Hurricane Isaac approaches in Tampa. Travis Daub/PBS NewsHour
TAMPA || Republican officials Saturday night announced that Mitt Romney's nomination festivities will be truncated from four days to three due to Tropical Storm Isaac.
They said in the interest of safety they will be consolidating everything to a three-day program, and crunching four days worth of speakers into that time frame. That means it's possible the program will start earlier than previously announced.
"We don't want to put our delegates in danger and we don't want to put people in Florida in danger," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said on a hastily arranged conference call.
Romney's official nomination will be done via a roll call vote of the states on Tuesday afternoon. The campaign expects that to happen in the 6 p.m. eastern hour.
The officials said it was a unanimous decision between the Republican National Convention and Romney's campaign. They sounded an optimistic note that it's a one-day shift.
"We look forward to a great start on Tuesday and we can think of no operational reason why that can't happen," said Bill Harris, president and CEO of the convention.
"Even though the time may be abbreviated, we will absolutely be able to get our message out," senior Romney strategist Russ Schriefer told reporters.
The convention issued this statement:
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.