Texas Republican Party moves convention online after losing legal battle to hold in person

The Republican State Executive Committee on Monday night voted for the convention to move to an online environment, hours after the Texas Supreme Court rejected the party’s appeal to organize the convention at the George R. Convention Center. Brown.

The decision ends a whirlwind of a few weeks during which the Texas Republican Party struggled to hold its convention in person, despite an increase in coronavirus cases in the state and a contingency plan to keep the convention online.

Texas is one of several states dealing with the increase in coronavirus cases, with Harris County, which encompasses Houston, and is the most populous county in Texas, leading the state in confirmed cases.

Although the Texas Republican Party made it clear it planned to implement various health and safety measures for attendees, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner canceled the convention last week, citing the pandemic.
The Texas Republican Party quickly filed a lawsuit against Turner, the City of Houston and Houston First, alleging breach of contract. They also accused Turner, a Democrat, of canceling the event for political reasons.
The Texas Supreme Court on Monday denied an appeal from the Texas Republican Party after a county court judge on Thursday rejected the party’s request for a temporary restraining order.

Texas Republicans hoped that the superior court “recognized the problem before it involved constitutionally protected rights arising from our contract with the Convention Center and confirmed that a contract cannot be violated for political purposes,” said President James Dickey in a statement.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled that while it is “unquestionably true” that the Republican Party of Texas has the constitutional right to hold a convention, “those rights do not allow it to simply use the Center.”

“Houston First’s sole duty to allow the party to use the center for its convention is under the terms of the parties’ agreement, not a constitution,” the court wrote in its opinion, adding that it does not have the jurisdiction to compel the city. to keep the contract.

CNN has reached out to Turner for comment.

The Harris County District Court also denied a court order request Monday to allow the party to hold their convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

During SREC’s meeting Monday, Texas Republican Party Attorney General Wade Emmert said his lawsuit, however, will proceed to seek damages from Houston First.

“Texas Republicans are finally forced to do what they should have made the decision to do months ago,” Texas Democratic Party President Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement. “It is horrible that they were willing to risk Texas lives to hold this convention in person until a Democratic mayor and court order intervened and saved them from themselves.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Republican, renewed his disaster declaration on Friday and recently imposed a mask mandate for most Texas residents in an effort to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

On Saturday, Texas reported its highest number of new positive Covid-19 cases with 10,351 new cases reported, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The state has already seen more than 269,700 cases and more than 3,200 deaths from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

CNN’s Caroline Kelly, Devan Cole, Paul LeBlanc and Kay Jones contributed to this report.


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