N.C. Republicans holding annual convention online

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Republicans are holding their annual convention online after COVID-19 health concerns led a top state health official to recommend GOP activists not gather in person.

The state convention, being held Friday, will include some 1,400 delegates participating from home or at county party offices, the state Republican Party said in a release.

A traditional convention planned for Greenville was canceled last week. Party leaders blamed Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's administration. They had plans to scale back attendance, but Cooper's state health director warned it was still a high-risk gathering for spreading the virus. Cooper defended on Thursday the advice given.

Party delegates are meeting in part to choose Republican National Convention delegates. Most national convention festivities originally set for Charlotte will now be in Jacksonville, Florida.

Online speakers Friday night will include U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest.

The state Democratic Party held a virtual convention last month.