HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A federal judge has ruled the Republican Party of Texas may hold its in-person convention in Houston this weekend, if needed, the party announced Friday.
The Texas GOP said it will, however, move forward with its online convention this weekend and that an in-person event at the George R. Brown Convention Center will be used as an “ultimate failsafe.”
The party in Texas has been in a battle with the city of Houston after Mayor Sylvester Turner said an in-person convention would not be allowed as the city (and the state) sees a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The Texas GOP had filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Texas, but, on Monday, it upheld Turner’s decision to refuse to hold the event.
However, late Friday afternoon, Judge Lynn Hughes of the Southern District of Texas ruled that Houston must allow the Texas GOP to use the convention center this weekend if it’s needed, the party said.
The party said it would continue with its online convention but that the convention center could be a “last-resort method” if there are technical difficulties.
Texas GOP chairman James Dickey released the following statement on Friday’s ruling:
“After the technical issues we experienced at RPT yesterday, immediate redundancy became a key objective. I was invited to join this lawsuit and took the opportunity to provide a last-resort method in-person if we needed it to secure our national election obligations. The RPT is on track to hold its convention online with its approved plan from the State Republican Executive Committee. Our online convention provides the greatest opportunity for as many delegates who want to participate in the Convention as possible. Delegate rights and delegate empowerment are critical to us and define the Republican grassroots. We learned a hard lesson yesterday and with this win today, if for any reason there is an issue tomorrow, we know that we have a single location where, with the necessary SREC authorizations, we could hold Congressional District Caucuses to elect our National Delegates and Alternates and Presidential Electors for President Donald J. Trump.”
In a statement, Mayor Turner said the city would be filing an appeal on the ruling.
“We are in the midst of a pandemic, a public health crisis. More people are being admitted to our hospitals and ICUs, and more people are dying. The State Republican Executive Committee is totally irresponsible in continuing to push for an indoor, in-person convention. This reflects a total disregard for the health and safety of employees and people in our city. After denying the Republican Party’s request for a temporary restraining order, the federal judge late Friday evening apparently has changed his mind. Upon receiving a written order from the federal judge, the City of Houston and Houston First will appeal.”