ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — California delegates who have gathered here for the Republican National Convention were unfazed by the cancellation of Monday’s events, saying that safety must be the first priority.
“So it’s official, official-official. They’re canceling Monday,” an aide announced Saturday as she read from her iPad in the lobby of the Tradewinds Island Resort, where California’s delegation is staying during the convention.
“I’m fine with that, whatever they decide,” said Diane McGlinchey, an alternate delegate from Huntington Beach. She added that the convention’s main purpose – the official nomination of Mitt Romney and Paul D. Ryan – was “inevitable.”
“I’m just excited to have Romney and Ryan on the ticket,” said the retiree. “Whether they do it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, it will be fine.”
The military wife has lived throughout the country and offered a parting bit of advice to her fellow Californians who have never experienced a hurricane: “It’s basically lots of rain, lots of wind. Stay above high ground and follow directions.”
Richard Costigan, a delegate from Granite Bay, said that the convention schedule would become compressed and more “jampacked,” but that the decision was the right one.
“Clearly, the delegates’, guests’ and press’ safety is the priority,” he said. “It doesn’t take away from how exciting it will be.”
Others said that the decision is not unexpected given what the Republican National Convention has done in past years when faced with inclement weather.
“I’m not at all surprised,” said Tom Scott, a delegate from Folsom who is also the transportation coordinator for the California delegation. “I figured in '08 [during Hurricane Gustav], they canceled out of respect for the Louisiana delegation and it was 1,000 miles away. Now, this thing is sideswiping you, you can only figure this might happen.”
The California delegation, the largest of any states, with 172 delegates, 169 alternates and other guests, is housed in this beachfront resort on a barrier island, a lovely locale but a flood-prone one that is connected to the mainland by low-lying causeways. But so far there is little talk of evacuations, though several delegates said they ran to the store to stock up on water and other supplies. The resort was last evacuated in 2005.