NCGOP forced to cancel in-person convention

Image of Hilton Greenville where the NCGOP state convention was scheduled to take place on Friday, July 10, 2020. Image via Hilton Greenville Facebook

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Republican Party has canceled the physical portions of the annual state convention due to COVID-19 and opposition from state health officials.

“Given the events of this year related to the spread of COVID-19, we have worked extremely hard to find a way to host a stellar convention in Greenville while complying with federal, state, and local regulations and guidelines for hosting major events. Unfortunately, we were very disappointed to receive a letter from Dr. Betsy Tilson, Gov. Cooper’s state health director, stating her opposition to the NCGOP moving forward with a physical convention,” NCGOP chairman Michael Whatley said on Tuesday.

The NCGOP said their convention would have complied with CDC Guidelines, state regulations and suggestions from health experts to reduce health risks, but Tilson stated the convention “could result in a large number of cases and severely ill people requiring hospitalizations and could jeopardize our ability to move forward in easing restrictions.” 

The party will instead an entirely virtual convention to elect delegates to the RNC Convention in Jacksonville. The party held virtual district conventions in April, making the NCGOP one of the first state parties in the country to do so.

Whatley said the NCGOP was “deeply disappointed” that Gov. Cooper and his team made it impossible to move forward despite agreeing to follow the federal, state, and local regulations and guidelines to host the event safely. The NCGOP said they will work to bring future opportunities to Greenville and the Greenville Convention Center and thanked them for their willingness to continue hosting the event.