Sunday, August 31, 2008

Louisiana delegation torn between family, duty

updated 10 minutes ago

Louisiana delegation torn between family, duty
Story Highlights
Some Louisiana Republican delegates have already returned home
McCain campaign chartered a flight for delegates to return home
Louisiana state party chairman says McCain has been "extremely helpful"
Louisiana will cast all 47 votes during roll call vote, chairman vows

By Scott J. Anderson Senior Political Producer

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) -- With Hurricane Gustav bearing down on their state, Louisiana delegates to the Republican National Convention on Sunday were torn between party duty and concern for family back home.

With the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina still fresh in their minds, many delegates returned home to help their families or, as elected officials, their communities evacuate, said Louisiana state party chairman Roger F. Villere, Jr.

But the delegates also knew they had a responsibility to Louisiana's Republican voters to cast the state's 47 votes to make sure the party's presumptive nominee, Sen. John McCain, is on the ballot in Louisiana in November.

"We've got a job to do. We're caught in the crossfire," said alternative delegate Donald Moriatry, II of Alexandria, Louisiana, said.

As the delegation was briefed by representatives from the McCain campaign at its hotel in east Minneapolis, Minnesota, delegates called home to talk with family members about evacuation plans and watched as the big, red center of Gustav headed towards New Orleans on cable news channels.

All conversation ceased when Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal appeared on the screen to discuss the state's emergency preparations.
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