The Republican Party of Texas is still planning to hold its convention July 16-18 at Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center, but the recent rise in coronavirus cases has raised new concerns about the viability of a live convention. That rise in cases prompted a new mask mandate in Harris County and Gov. Abbott to re-close all bars and reduce restaurants to 50-percent capacity.
All of these developments don't bode well for the planned gathering of some 6,000 state GOP delegates at the George R. Brown. "People do need to remember that the convention is not a big party," says state GOP Chair James Dickey. "The convention is where we elect our presidential electors and we elect our national delegates, so it is crucial party business that must happen."
As for exactly how it will happen, the party is hoping to have a traditional in-person gathering, albeit with fewer attendees than normal. "We've added thermal scanners to check the temperature of everyone who arrives, and we have added donations of masks, so we can provide masks for every single attendee," says Dickey. "We continue to evaluate what our alternatives are, and we do have a backup plan for a virtual convention, should that be necessary."
Dickey also admits the ultimate decision on whether to hold a live convention may be out of the party's hands. "The city owns the George R. Brown, the county judge has a right to make a lot of decisions, and of course the governor as well," he tells KTRH. "But we don't have the ability to delay any further."