GOP Insists Convention Still On for August Despite Coronavirus Concerns

Elections
Mike Pence waves to the crowd after speaking at the GOP convention in Cleveland, July 20, 2016. (Aaron Bernstein/Reuters)

North Carolina GOP Chairman Michael Whatley said that the Republican National Committee “is firmly committed to moving forward” with its presidential convention, set to be held in Charlotte in late August, despite coronavirus concerns.

“At this time, the RNC is firmly committed to moving forward with the RNC Convention which is scheduled to be held August 24th-27th in Charlotte,” an open letter to North Carolina Republicans reads. “However, the RNC is closely monitoring conditions regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and is working closely with federal, state, and local governments in order to determine whether they will need to make any changes to the schedule.”

Democrats also have insisted that their convention, set to be held in Milwaukee in mid-July, is still on, despite reports that they were already planning for a backup, with sources telling Politico that planned walk-throughs of the convention site were delayed and convention organizing staffers are currently working from home.

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“There are no plans to cancel the convention and we are not considering a rules change at this time,” Xochitl Hinojosa, the DNC’s communications director, said Monday. “Contingency planning is a routine part of preparations for any convention.”

Coronavirus has already impacted the primary calendar, with Louisiana becoming the first state to postpone its presidential primary, originally scheduled for April 4, for two months over coronavirus.

Last week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued a “health emergency” to overrule a local judge and close the state’s primary polls the day before his state’s primary.

“Logistically, under these extraordinary circumstances, it simply isn’t possible to hold an election tomorrow that will be considered legitimate by Ohioans. They mustn’t be forced to choose between their health and exercising their constitutional rights,” he said in a statement at the time.

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