With tropical weather forcing Republicans to shuffle their schedule, there is one definite item of business the convention will complete: nominating the top of their party's ticket.
Mitt Romney is expected to get that nomination, but not without a challenge from Rep. Ron Paul. The Texas congressman has not released his delegates to Romney.
"They have not officially been released to vote however they want," said Ed O'Keefe, a political reporter with The Washington Post. "Even if they were, it's likely that many of them would still vote for Ron Paul anyway because they are such devoted followers."
While Paul isn't scheduled to speak, his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), will address the convention Wednesday night. That night also includes a video tribute to Ron Paul.
"There were discussions as the party platform was being put in place to sort of make sure that Ron Paul and his supporters were OK with some of the things that were going to be included," O'Keefe said. "It's by no means Ron Paul's show, but there is great sensitivity and awareness to the fact that they need to do what they can to keep Ron Paul and his supporters happy in order to avoid splintering the party and potentially causing some drama on the floor with all the television cameras watching."
O'Keefe, who recently traveled to some of the battleground states to talk to voters, said there are three things that need to happen by the end of the convention.
1. Mitt Romney, Meet America. America, Meet Mitt Romney
"I spent a lot of time talking to voters who say, 'I don't know who he is,' and because they don't know who he is, they don't like him," O'Keefe said.
He said that includes Romney talking about himself as a person, as a father and as a husband - not just his business and political experiences.
2. Details, Details, Details
"Republicans - and especially Romney and Paul Ryan have to lay out what specifically will they actually do if they are elected to the White House," O'Keefe said. "Look at polling that still suggests that a lot of voters are unsure about Romney because all they've really seen him do is talk about why he's better than Barack Obama or why Obama doesn't deserve to be President anymore."
Among the specifics voters want: an economic plan. Some of those details are on Romney's website.
3. Party Unity
"After what was a very tricky and really at times nasty primary campaign between Romney and his rivals, the Republicans have to leave Tampa looking united and making it clear that they are ready, willing and able to somehow defeat President Obama in November," O'Keefe said.
Former rivals taking part in the convention include:
- Rick Santorum
- Tim Pawlenty
- Newt Gingrich
The three were critical of Romney during the primary, but are expected to stand behind their nominee in the months leading up to the general election.