Gulf Coast Delegates Weigh Storm Threats With GOP Convention Attendance
Delegates from Gulf Coast states are being torn between meeting their obligations at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. and worrying about the effects of Tropical Storm Isaac back home. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
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When the Republican National Convention briefly gaveled in Monday afternoon, not a single person from the Louisiana delegation showed up. Other Gulf Coast states also had small showings on the floor, as the trajectory of Tropical Storm Isaac remained uncertain.
"At one point yesterday it looked like Mississippi was going to get another direct hit. And ironically, it would have been the anniversary of Katrina, which as you know devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said Gayle Wicker, the wife of Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker.
Some delegates from Mississippi arrived Sunday, only to turn right around and go home.
"It's sort of been day to day. I know I had reservations and Senator [Thad] Cochran had reservations for today to fly back if we could be of some help there. We made the decision today not to do that," said Senator Roger Wicker.
The state of Alabama appears, like Florida, to have missed the worst of the storm, but it was still a constant worry for its representatives in Tampa.
"It delayed a lot of our delegates coming back home. I'm actually in the Alabama state senate, and of course there is concern any time you hear about a potential disaster back home or the potential damage that could effect citizens of our state," said Alabama State Senator Cam Ward. "It's delayed a lot of delegates and actually canceled a lot of trips."
One model even showed the storm headed for Texas. But with typical lone star state swagger, delegates we spoke with shook off the threat.
"Being from Houston and going through Ike and Katrina and Rita, these little tropical storms don't scare us too much," said Texas delegate Cindy Lawrence.
So despite the cancellations, Monday turned out to be a pleasant day in Tampa. But as local elected officials have said repeatedly, the only thing predictable about a storm of this size is that its unpredictability, making the next couple of days very uncertain.