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North Carolina governor tells RNC ‘very unlikely’ they can host full convention as planned

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday told the Republican National Committee that it is “very unlikely” they can host a full convention in Charlotte as planned amid the coronavirus crisis, while still leaving the door open to hosting the nominating event in the state.

In a letter to RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and convention president and CEO Marcia Lee Kelly, Cooper said that the state still wants “a safe RNC convention in Charlotte” that follows health guidelines, but that officials would like to discuss what a “scaled-down convention would look like.”

RNC SETS DEADLINE OF JUNE 3 FOR COOPER TO NOTIFY IF THEY CAN HOST ‘FULL’ CONVENTION IN CHARLOTTE, NC 

“The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention, with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity,” Cooper wrote. “We are happy to continue talking with you about what a scaled-down convention would look like and we still await your proposed plan for that.”

He added: “As much as we want the conditions surrounding COVID-19 to be favorable enough for you to hold the Convention you describe in late August, it is very unlikely.”

“Neither public health officials nor I will risk the health and safety of North Carolinians by providing the guarantee you seek,” he wrote.

Cooper’s letter to McDaniel and Kelly comes after the two demanded the governor meet a June 3 deadline to provide guidance on whether the party could hold a “full” convention, including “19,000 delegates, alternative delegates, staff, volunteers, elected officials and guests inside the Spectrum Center” in Charlotte. McDaniel and Kelly also said they required “full hotels and restaurants and bars at capacity.”

RNC SENDS PROPOSED SAFETY PROTOCOLS TO NORTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR FOR GOP CONVENTION

Cooper’s letter to McDaniel and Kelly Tuesday also comes as RNC officials are beginning to explore other sites for the 2020 presidential nominating event.

RNC officials told Fox News on Tuesday that they are considering Nashville, Tenn., Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., Jacksonville, Fla., and Georgia as alternative sites for the convention.

All of the locations have expressed interest in hosting the event, and RNC officials are likely to visit the locations this week.

“President Trump and Chairwoman McDaniel have been clear on our desire to hold our convention in Charlotte but without concrete guidance from Gov. Cooper, planning has been difficult,” an RNC spokesman Rick Gorka told Fox News on Tuesday. ”Deadlines loom and major decisions need to be made.”

It is unclear, at this point, based on Cooper’s latest response to party officials, whether the GOP will agree to a “scaled-back” convention or whether they will move to change locations.

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