TAMPA, Fla.—Mention of Hurricane Isaac, which is still drenching the Gulf Coast, has been limited at the GOP’s national convention this week, but Gulf state delegates in attendance seem just fine with that.
On Tuesday night, Ann Romney opened her speech with a reference to the storm, asking the crowd to pray that those in its path remain safe. The first reference to Isaac Wednesday night came from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), who directed attendees to a donation page on the website of the Red Cross.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez also urged those in the crowd to donate online, by phone call or via text message. Earlier in the day, the large video boards inside the convention hall highlighted the call for hurricane relief.
“A lot of the speakers are sensitive to the coastal issues,” says Barbara Meeks, a delegate from Texas and Galveston County party chair. “I think some awareness is needed, but we don’t want to cloud over the business we have to take care of here.”
Meeks noted that she appreciated Ann Romney’s acknowledgement of those impacted by Isaac at the top of her speech Tuesday night.
Convention organizers cancelled the first day of the RNC due to uncertainty over the storm’s path, and in the two days since the party has worked to balance the need to forge ahead with its convention while still showing sensitivity to those impacted by Hurricane Isaac.
A number of Louisiana delegates went home because of the storm, says Dr. Aaron Klepper, a delegate from the state. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was scheduled to speak at the convention but cancelled Monday—bracing for the storm. Gulf state delegations have been receiving storm updates each day from their home states.
Emil Albrecht, another Louisiana delegate, was thrilled convention organizers did not postpone business another day because it would have only kept many of his state’s delegates in Florida longer.
“There’s not much you can do,” Albrecht says. “It’s nature.”Follow @DaveNyczepir