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Republicans are expected to nominate Mitt Romney earlier than usual to avoid disruptions from tropical storm; Ron Paul supporters.
ORLANDO, Fla -- Republican officials are still concerned about the possibility of Tropical Storm Isaac disrupting the GOP convention, which begins Monday in Tampa. The storm is still gathering steam in the Carribbean and is expected to become a hurricane by Monday.
GOP leaders are expected to begin the roll call vote to officially nomninate Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate for president on Monday, days earlier than expected, reports AP. So far the major TV networks have declined to air coverage of the convention on Monday.
The official nomination was moved up in part to avoid fall out from Tropical Storm Isaac as well as concerns about supporters of popular libertarian Congressman Ron Paul disrupting the nominating process.
Several hundred of Paul's loyal followers have pledged to support the Texas Congressman in the official roll call regardless of whether Paul won the votes in their district, reports AP.
The Romney campaign preferred officially calling the roll of delegates on Monday, when television networks were not planning to broadcast the convention, to avoid the possibililty of a public embarassement if Paul supporters are unruly on the convention floor, reports the New York Times.
The Los Angeles Times reports that convention officials refused to discuss contingency plans should Tropical Storm Isaac threaten the GOP gathering. Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott told the newspaper that the 50,000 convention participants should travel to Tampa as planned.
"Just remember: Florida's used to this. We've had hurricanes before," Scott told CNN.
The National Hurricane Center said there was "significant uncertainty" about where exactly the storm will hit. The latest projected path had Isaac brushing by the Tampa Bay area and making landfall Tuesday afternoon or evening in the Florida Panhandle, reports the LA Times.
One benefit of an early nomination is that Romney will have access to funds his campaign has raised to support his general election bid. Until he formally accepts the party's nomination he is restricted to using money raised specifically for the Republican primary campaign, reports AP.