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GOP Scales Back Scope of Nominating Convention

July 16, 2020 by Dan McCue
William Miranda positions balloons in preparation for the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland in 2016. (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON – The Republican National Committee is reducing the size of its planned presidential nominating convention in Jacksonville, Fla., in August in the face of a continued surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the state.

The GOP’s plans were first reported by The Hill.

In a letter to delegates, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said only “regular” delegates, a group of about 2,500 people, will be allowed to attend the first three days of the convention.

On the last day of the convention, when President Donald Trump formally accepts his party’s nomination, delegates will be able to bring a guest and alternate delegates will also be able to attend, bringing the total number of those present in the hall to about 7,000.

“When we made these changes, we had hoped to be able to plan a traditional convention celebration to which we are all accustomed. However, adjustments must be made to comply with state and local health guidelines,” McDaniel said in her letter.

On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence suggested the Republican National Committee was considering changes to its nominating convention and would prioritize the health of convention attendees.

“With regard to the convention, I can tell you it is a work in progress. The president indicated that we’ll be flexible,” he said in a call with reporters.

Pence said the party would consult with health officials, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis about the appropriate structure, but that “there is consideration being given to having the convention at an outdoor setting.”

“We’ll put the health of everyone participating first,” he added.

President Trump nixed plans to hold the convention in Charlotte, N.C., as initially slated, after the governor said the RNC would have to institute social distancing and mandatory face masks. Official business will still be held in Charlotte, but the nomination has been  moved to Jacksonville.

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