Federal judge rules Texas GOP can have in-person Houston convention, lawyers say

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The entrance to the 2016 Republican Party of Texas convention in Dallas. The 2020 in-person party convention in Houston was canceled due to the coronavirus, spurring legal battles. Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

A Houston federal judge ruled Friday that the Republican Party of Texas may proceed with its in-person convention, according to lawyers involved in the litigation, a striking last-minute development as party officials have struggled to get a virtual gathering underway.

Jared Woodfill, an attorney for Houston activist Steve Hotze, who helped file the lawsuit, said Judge Lynn Hughes ruled that the party can hold an in-person convention both this weekend and next weekend — and “that the City of Houston may not interfere with it.”

According to Woodfill, Hughes concluded that the state party, which joined the lawsuit Friday, “made a good-faith effort to have a virtual convention" and that Houston put the party "in an untenable position to do it [virtually] in a very short period of time.”