Chairman says Texas GOP State Convention to continue as in-person event at GRB despite Turner’s plea

HOUSTON – The Texas GOP Convention planned at the George R. Brown Convention Center between July 16-18 will continue as planned, according to the Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey.

Dickey’s statement Monday came after Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called for the Texas GOP’s executive committee to cancel the in-person event that is expected to see roughly 6,000 attendees. Turner asked that the event either be made virtual or that certain health protocols be put in place. Turner said if the health protocols were not strictly adhered to, health inspectors who would be present at the event, could shut it down.

“I do not think it is wise or prudent to hold an in-person convention of 6,000 or more at this point in time,” Turner said Monday. “I will call upon the executive committee as well as sponsors to change their minds to go to a virtual convention.”

“We have been proactive in implementing safety measures such as thermal scans upon entry each day for each attendee, limited entryways, expanded floor plans to accommodate social distancing, hand sanitizer stations throughout, and available masks for all attendees,” Dickey wrote in a statement Monday night.

He went on to say that the “need to assemble is important,” as the party will be nominating people to represent the GOP in the electoral college and that the state convention was a “fundamental exercise of the freedom to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress.”

“Mayor Turner must not have had the information about the measures being voluntarily implemented,” he wrote.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) wrote a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Monday night asking him to intervene.

“...it has now been determined that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted through airborne transmission which is of particular concern with 5,000 plus delegates coming to Houston without a guarantee all participants will follow the mask order,” she wrote. “I think it is important as head of the State Republican Party that you cancel the in person convention scheduled for July 16 – 18 in Houston, Texas.”