Local delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa are hoping the only hurricane blowing through Florida will come from the energy of Republicans eager to send Mitt Romney to the White House.
About 50,000 people will descend on Tampa for the RNC, which now will begin on Tuesday and build toward Mr. Romney's expected nomination address on Thursday. GOP leaders announced late Saturday that the convention would be delayed by one day because of safety concerns caused by Tropical Storm Isaac.
Bettendorf Republican John Archer was scheduled to speak on the first day of the convention. Mr. Archer is running against Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Mount Vernon, in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District. He got the invitation last Sunday from Republican House Speaker John Boehner's office.
"When Speaker Boehner wants you to personally make some remarks at the RNC, you make the necessary adjustments to your calendar," Mr. Archer said. "This is very, very big for us, and it's a testament to the fact that we can win this 2nd District."
On Saturday evening, Paul Keppy, a spokesman for Mr. Archer, said they were awaiting word on whether and when Mr. Archer's remarks would be rescheduled
Traveling to the convention as a delegate will be Henry County Board member Jon Zahm. He was elected as a delegate for Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who lost to Mr. Romney in the GOP primary. Mr. Santorum released his delegates on Thursday, allowing them to vote for Mr. Romney at the convention.
"I'm very happy to be voting for Mitt Romney. He's stayed true to the conservative platform that he's running on," said Mr. Zahm.
Mr. Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, will speak on Wednesday night. Mr. Zahm said the convention will give the nation a chance to get to know Mr. Ryan, who, although popular in conservative circles, has not had a high profile on the national stage until recently.
Galva Mayor Rich Nordstrom was one of the three delegates elected in the 17th District, along with Mr. Zahm and Kay Ferris of Sterling. All three were Santorum delegates.
"I'm 100 percent behind Romney," Mr. Nordstrom said. "I'm really looking forward to the week, it's just an exciting time."
Attending the convention is a major financial commitment for delegates, said Andy Blankenbaker.
Mr. Blankenbaker, chairman of the Jo Daviess County Republican Party, ran unsuccessfully as a delegate candidate in the 17th District. But he finally got his ticket to Tampa at the Illinois state Republican convention, when he was selected as an at-large alternate delegate for Illinois.
Delegates have to pay a $600 convention fee and, when the cost of flights and a hotel are added in, Mr. Blankenbaker estimated the week in Florida will cost him $3,000. The Jo Daviess Republicans have given him $1,000 to help.
"This is my first convention and I'm really looking forward to it," Mr. Blankenbaker said, adding that he hoped to hear Mr. Romney talk about jobs and the economy, the central themes of the presidential election.
One person who won't be going to the RNC is Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona. Rep. Schilling is at home during the congressional summer recess. He plans to use his time off to campaign, a spokesman said, as he works to fend off the challenge from Democrat Cheri Bustos for his seat.
For other local Republicans staying home, a party will be held at City Limits Saloon & Grill, 4514 9th St., Rock Island, at 7 p.m. Thursday during Mr. Romney's big speech, according to Rock Island County Republican Party Chairwoman Susie Carpentier.
Today is Wednesday, May 22, the 142nd day of 2013. There are 223 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Large quantities of ice from LaCrosse and Lake Pepin are beingshipped on ice boats, towed by steamers to St. Louis and points below. 1888 -- 125 years ago: With the Mississippi River at 18 feet above the low water stage,Rock Island is waging a valiant fight to keep the river from flooding the entire city. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Approval has been given by the city commission for paving 45thStreet between 7th and 11th Avenues. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Herndon Wright, of East Moline, has won the discus-throw title, by aheave of more than 140 feet, to set a new high school record at Champaign. 1963 -- 50 years ago: With the Selective Service Law recently extended by Congress forfour more years, Mrs. Hazel Doris reminded young men that they must register withinfive days after attaining their 18th birthday. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Over 500 Quad-Cities area retired volunteers were honoredrecently for their community services at a Retired Senior Volunteer Program luncheonat Palmer Auditorium in Davenport. Guest speaker, William Moffitt, director of productengineering of Deere & Co., spoke about leadership and stressed the importance ofcommunity volunteers.