HOUSTON - Early Saturday morning, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had stayed Judge Lynn Hughes verbal ruling allowing the Texas Republican Party to hold their state convention in person in Houston.
On Friday afternoon, a federal judge ruled the Texas GOP in-person convention could proceed as scheduled at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Conservative lawyer Jared Woodfill confirmed to FOX 26 on Friday that Federal Judge Lynn Hughes ruled the party can have their in-person convention.
Earlier this week, the Texas Supreme Court upheld the city of Houston’s refusal to allow the state Republican convention to hold the in-person event due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, said last week that he had directed city lawyers to terminate the contract because he believed the event could not be held safely. He denied that the convention was canceled due to political differences and cited the potential risk to service workers and first responders if the virus spread through the convention.
On Friday, Turner issued a statement saying, "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 being 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."
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As reported by the Austin American Statesman, one member of the executive committee said President Trump can be nominated without the benefit of Texas’ delegates, but he likely would not be able to win the presidency without Texas’ electoral votes.
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Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued a statement saying, “After proving that they couldn’t handle a virtual convention, Texas Republicans are now willing to risk the lives of millions of Texans because they are too technologically inept to continue in a safe and distant manner. Shame on the judge who issued this ruling. There is no justification whatsoever for holding an in-person convention in the biggest coronavirus hotspot in the country. Texas had a record number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths today. Houston is one of the hardest hit cities in the country. We have shown absolutely zero signs of flattening the curve. This decision is flat out wrong. Due to this decision, people will get sick and die. If this proceeds, Texans will remember who put their lives at risk to hold a pep rally. Hospitality workers will remember who forced them to risk their health and lives to host a gala. Enough is enough....”