The GOP Nominee for president, Mitt Romney, has decided against braving degrading weather conditions on the East Coast and canceled his two remaining events in Virginia set for Sunday.
Romney had scheduled a three stop swing through the Commonwealth on Sunday that started in Northern Virginia, included a visit to the University of Richmond and ended in Virginia Beach. The campaign canceled the Virginia Beach stop on Friday.
Saturday, after consulting with Governor Bob McDonnell, they decided to just cancel the entire swing. Romney will got to Ohio, which is increasingly seen as the state that will decide the election, instead.
McDonnell called Romney's decision "prudent".
"We have been in regular communication with the Romney campaign and they determined that it would be best for public safety in the state that they cancel their events," McDonnell said.
It seems that the decision was as much about drawing public safety personnel away from the disaster recovery as it was about the safety of the campaign and its guests. Presidential campaign visits require a great deal of police and fire department cooperation and the McDonnell administration suggested to the Romney team that they didn't want to be left short staffed if things got ugly.
McDonnell was grateful.
"I thank them for this decision and appreciate their concern for public safety in Virginia," he said.
In leiu of a visit, the Romney campaign is asking its supporters to donate bottled water and non-perishable food to help recovery efforts once the storm blows through. The campaign will then provide the supplies to local resoucre centers in need.
If you are interested in donating the Romney campaign web site has more information.
It is hard to tell how this will impact Romney's campaign in Virginia. While many polls show him with an edge, he is by no means a clear favorite. This swing was designed to pump up his standing in the polls. However a trip to Ohio, which is increasingly becoming a vital battleground, won't hurt him either.
The big issue for the Romney team is that time is running out. Depending on how bad this storm ravages Virginia, a return visit to the state may not be possible until after Halloween at the earliest.
In fact the Board of Elections is already preparing for power outages extending all the way to election day.
Sandy proves that no matter how much a campaign prepares, you never know what can happen.