The coronavirus pandemic is upending convention plans for state and local political parties, and organizers involved with the Democratic and Republican national conventions warn that the fate of the summer events could end up in the hands of public health off…

The coronavirus pandemic is upending convention plans for state and local political parties, and organizers involved with the Democratic and Republican national conventions warn that the fate of the summer events could end up in the hands of public health off…

The coronavirus pandemic is upending convention plans for state and local political parties, and organizers involved with the Democratic and Republican national conventions warn that the fate of the summer events could end up in the hands of public health officials.
The chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party said in a letter that the GOP is “firmly committed” to proceeding with its national convention in Charlotte in August, as he announced that upcoming county and district conventions will be conducted virtually or via teleconference.
The national Libertarian and Green parties were weighing contingency options for their conventions, which are scheduled to be held in May and July, respectively.
“We’re just going to be flexible,” said Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee. “I used to work with a Marine colonel back when I was in D.C., and his motto was ‘Semper Gumby’ — always flexible.”
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez on Monday pointed out that the party’s convention in Milwaukee is still four months away and that the committee will continue to be in regular contact with federal, state and local health professionals on how to proceed.
“We’re obviously in regular touch with federal, state and local officials. We are planning and hoping for the best, but planning for every eventuality and safety will always be paramount in planning the convention,” Mr. Perez said on a conference call with reporters on a separate topic.
Earlier this month, when the crisis was not nearly at the point it is now, Mr. Perez had said he wasn’t contemplating rules changes to accommodate a virtual or online convention.
Joe Solmonese, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee, said they’re monitoring the fluid situation and the convention committee will stay focused on planning a “safe and successful” event in Milwaukee in four months.
“As we prepare these plans, we will remain in constant communication with the local, state and federal officials responsible for protecting public health and security — and will continue to follow their guidance as we move forward,” he said.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers previewed what he called a “safer at home” order coming Tuesday, calling on people to stay at home and limit their travel to essential needs.
John Verdejo, a DNC member from North Carolina, said he thinks the party leadership needs to do a better job looping in rank-and-file members who aren’t intricately involved in the planning.
He said that moving forward as scheduled isn’t worth it if it means risking lives.
“I know everyone wants to see a convention going on and everyone wants to partake in those festivities and so forth,” he said. “It’s not worth it, bro. It’s not worth it. I mean hell, they canceled baseball.”
Michael Whatley, chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, said over the weekend that the RNC is “firmly committed” to moving forward with its convention, scheduled for Aug. 24-27 in Charlotte.
“However, the RNC is closely monitoring conditions regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and is working closely with federal, state and local governments in order to determine whether they will need to make any changes to the schedule,” Mr. Whatley said in an open letter to Republicans in the state.
Mr. Whatley also said that the remaining county and district conventions, which are frequently used to formally select delegates to the national convention, will be conducted virtually via teleconference and online platforms. He said the party’s state convention will take place as scheduled in May.
The COVID-19 outbreak is also upending local and state party proceedings elsewhere.
The New Hampshire GOP announced Monday that it would postpone its annual convention, which had been slated for May 2.
The North Dakota Republican Party canceled its convention that had been scheduled for this week, and the Republican Party of Virginia last week postponed its convention that had been slated for early May.
The North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party, meanwhile, held a virtual convention last week instead of an in-person gathering.
“This has been quite an adventure of a week trying to navigate this new world we’re living in right now and trying to find ways that we as Democrats, and really as North Dakotans, and Americans can all stay connected during this pandemic crisis and still engage in the business that is required of us,” said party chairwoman Kylie Oversen.
Mr. Sarwark, the Libertarian Party chairman, said they might have to get creative but they’re not going to put people in excessive risk.
The Libertarian convention is scheduled for late May in Austin, Texas, presenting more of a time crunch than Democrats or Republicans have for their national conventions.
He said he has advised some state parties in the process of holding their conventions to cancel or postpone the events, but suggested to others that they work with the venue to practice social distancing or use a video link to conduct business.
“We’ll figure it out. We will have a nominee and they will be on all 50 state ballots,” he said. “We want to cooperate with our opponents to not endanger people.”
Michael O’Neil, communications manager for the Green Party, said they’re exploring their options, including for a possible “virtual” convention.
The Green Party Convention is scheduled to be held in Detroit in July, right before the Democratic National Convention.
“We’re running through different scenarios and looking at different broadcasting possibilities or live-streaming possibilities and just getting a sense of what are the tools that are out there to accommodate our needs,” he said.
Mr. O’Neil said some Green Party state conventions have moved to online meetings because of COVID-19.
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.
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