Texas GOP postpones convention a day due to technical problems

Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey speaks at the GOP state convention in San Antonio on June 14, 2018. Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Republican Party has postponed its state convention by a day to give itself more time to figure out technical issues that plagued the virtual gathering Thursday.

After a nearly four-hour meeting that ended after midnight on Friday, the State Republican Executive Committee voted 51-5 to resume convention business Saturday instead of later Friday. The delay was encouraged by party Chairman James Dickey, who expressed uncertainty throughout the night that the party could start the convention again Friday without encountering further problems related to its online credentialing process.

"I very, very much think this would be a wise move," Dickey said of resuming Saturday.

The party faced hours-long delays as it sought to get its convention going earlier Thursday. Dickey abruptly announced Thursday evening that the convention would reconvene at noon Friday, citing "extenuating circumstances and technical issues."

Now, with the SREC vote, convention business will not begin again until Saturday morning, likely about 8 a.m., Dickey said. That also means the convention will last a day later than originally scheduled, going into Sunday.

For weeks, the party had pushed to hold an in-person convention in Houston, one that was expected to draw thousands of people, even as coronavirus cases spiked across the state. After exhausting legal options earlier this week, party officials moved forward with the virtual meeting, which they said they had long been preparing for as a backup plan.

The saga has been especially high-stakes for Dickey, who faces a serious challenge to his chairmanship from Allen West, the former Florida congressman. It was not immediately clear when exactly that vote would be held at the convention under the new schedule approved by the SREC.

In any case, Dickey opened the SREC meeting Thursday night with an apology.

"I am sorry that today did not go much, much better," Dickey said, "and as the chair, that is my responsibility, and I accept that responsibility."