It should be a grand old party in Tampa, Fla., August 27-30, when an estimated 50,000 delegates, alternate delegates, media types, tea partiers, Occupiers, networkers, glad-handers, fist-pumpers, Vice President Biden, heavy rain bands and 50 mph wind gusts from TS Isaac converge to nominate Mitt Romney as the next president of the United States at the 40th Republican National Convention.
The theme for this year’s quadrennial event is “A Better Future,” a slogan meant to remind voters of the Republican Party’s plans to address high unemployment, skyrocketing debt, the economic imperative of energy independence, and plans to strengthen the middle class and small businesses.
Ahead of the GOP convention, polls show the contenders statistically neck-in-neck. The most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows President Barack Obama at 48% and his Republican challenger at 44%, with a margin within the poll’s sampling error. The results are in line with the other two polls included in the latest CNN Poll of Polls, which averaged the three most recent surveys to find Obama at 47% and Romney at 43%.
By most predictions, bad weather looms ahead for Tampa during Convention week as Tropical Storm Isaac heads along a western track, dumping rain on the island of Hispaniola today and swirling about 1,000 miles off the Florida coast as of 11 a.m., according to the National Hurricane Center.
From Sunday afternoon through Tuesday, forecasts have Tampa likely seeing heavy rain that could flood streets, gusts of tropical-force winds that could close bridges and a possible storm surge that could flood low-lying areas such as the fine Spanish-styled lodgings on Tampa’s Interbay Peninsula I’m scheduled to be hunkered down in and the Tampa Bay Times Forum, GOP convention HQ.
Follow me, your SHRM correspondent for the next few days as I maneuver through the RNC, with perspectives from the convention floor, from around the security perimeter, from a variety of policy events and watch parties and a scheduled side trip to the HR Florida Conference in nearby Orlando.
And wish me some blue skies.