The Republican Party of Texas is still hoping to hold an in-person convention in the COVID-19 hotspot of Houston this month.
The state GOP filed a lawsuit Thursday against Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, and others involved with canceling the convention earlier this week.
“Our objective is that the courts will hear and rule in our favor in time to open up the George R. Brown Convention Center Monday morning so that we may safely begin our vital work in the electoral process,” the party said in a statement Thursday.
CNN reports: Turner said Wednesday that he had asked the city’s legal department to review the contract between the State Republican Executive Committee and the convention venue’s operator, Houston First Corporation. He announced later Wednesday that he had officially instructed Houston First Corporation to cancel its contract with the state GOP. The party is suing Turner, Houston First Corporation and the city of Houston for breach of contract, according to a news release. Turner garnered national attention in making the announcement, with the Democrat speaking in deeply personal terms about the memory of his late mother to explain his decision. “The linchpin for me (was) when one of the people on my staff, combined with my sister, who said to me, ‘Mayor, brother, your mom was a maid working at these hotels. And if your mom was alive today working at one of these hotels (would) you as the mayor still allow this convention to go forth and run the risk of infecting your mom?’ ” he said.
More from the Texas Tribune: The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Harris County, argues that the gathering is protected under both the Texas and U.S. Constitutions and should be allowed to continue as planned. “Mayor Turner may not treat the [Republican Party of Texas] convention differently from that of the recent public protests that the Mayor supported,” the petition reads. “Political viewpoint cannot be the basis for unequal treatment.” The party’s biennial convention was expected to draw roughly 6,000 people to a city that is a hotspot for the coronavirus. Republican leaders had planned to deliver their speeches via video, which the party’s executive director said would enable them to “get everybody in and out of here as quickly and as safely as possible.”
In related news, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott banned elective medical procedures in more than 100 counties on Thursday, amid rising COVID-19 hospitalizations.