GOP expects to open convention Monday, despite storm

Tropical Storm Isaac could impact Tampa

WASHINGTON - Republican officials say they are moving forward with plans to hold the Republican National Convention on Monday as scheduled, despite an approaching tropical storm.

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Convention CEO William Harris said Thursday he's continuing preparations and is working with Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, the National Weather Service and Florida officials to track the impact of Tropical Storm Isaac.

The storm is approaching hurricane strength. It's expected to move into the Gulf Coast early next week, just as thousands of GOP delegates and journalists pour into Tampa.

Harris says Florida officials have assured convention planners they have enough resources in place to respond to the storm should it make landfall. He says the primary concern is for those in the storm's path.

As far as rescheduling the convention, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said it's too early to make a decision.

"It's still too early," Gov. Rick Scott said during a update on Tropical Storm Isaac. "The hope is this is going to go away, but if it doesn't. Florida's ready, the conventions ready, our local communities are ready."

Tampa-area law enforcement says that the storm could complicate convention security. A Category 1 hurricane warning for Tampa would mean mandatory evacuations of many of the delegates' hotels, along with the area between the convention site and the Bay, which floods easily.

"They have a plan in case there is a hurricane," Scott said. "If there is they will work their plan. But right now were hoping it continues to go west and then dissipates."

Scott said a decision might be made when the storm gets past Cuba.

"If there needs to be an evacuation, the decision will be made to do that," Scott said. "But I'm very comfortable that the state is prepared."

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Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.