Two Vicksburg residents to attend political conventions Tropical Storm Isaac expected to hit Florida Monday, Republicans delay start by one day

Published 11:30 pm Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mayor Paul Winfield and Dr. Randy Easterling are the only two Vicksburg residents scheduled to attend this year’s Democratic and Republican national nominating conventions.

Easterling, 60, a family medicine and addiction medicine physician, is among three alternate delegates to the Republican National Convention, which was scheduled to begin Monday in Tampa.

However, Republican officials abruptly announced plans Saturday night to scrap the first day of the convention, bowing to the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac as it bore down menacingly on Florida.

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“The safety of those in Isaac’s path is of the utmost importance,” tweeted Mitt Romney, his formal nomination as presidential candidate pushed back by a minimum of 24 hours from Monday night to Tuesday.

The announcement was made as delegates and other convention-goers flocked to the Tampa Bay area by the planeload.

Officials said they hoped to begin laying out a revised schedule today.

Reince Priebus, the Republican Party chairman, told reporters on an early evening conference call that no state delegations had changed their travel plans because of the storm. “Everyone is planning on being here and we hope we are up and running and expect all of our delegates to be here,” he said.

Yet with rain and high winds in the forecast, and with the threat of a storm surge and possible flooding, convention organizers said they were making contingency plans to move delegates who have been booked into beachfront hotels to other locations if necessary.

Despite the disruption, Priebus said, “we are optimistic that we will begin an exciting, robust convention that will nominate the Romney-Ryan ticket.”

Other Mississippi alternates at the convention are businessman Tim Timbs of Indianola; Beverly Taylor, a retiree from Crystal Springs; and state Sen. Buck Clarke, of Hollandale.

Others representing the Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District are former Gov. Haley Barbour, RNC committeeman Henry Barbour, House Speaker Philip Gunn, former state GOP chairman Jim Herring and Jackson obstetrician Dr. Freda Bush.

Delegates are expected to support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who finished third behind Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in the state’s GOP primary in March.

Winfield, 38, makes a return trip this year to the Democratic National Convention, having served as a delegate for President Barack Obama in 2008. The convention starts Sept. 3 in Charlotte.

Joining Winfield are Vallena Greer, vice-chair of the state party; Addie Green, an alderwoman from Bolton; Paulette Palmer, a retiree from Greenwood; Janie Suzanne Harmon of Kosciusko; state Sen. David Jordan of Greenwood; Tyler Doss, an Alcorn State Univeristy student from Port Gibson; attorney Erick Simmons of Greenville; and party parliamentarian Willie Griffin. State Rep. Earle Banks of Jackson is an alternate.