Republican Party of Texas Files Lawsuit After Houston Cancels Convention

Updated at 5:00 a.m. July 10:

A judge is denying a temporary restraining order sought by the Republican Party of Texas to keep the city of Houston from canceling the party's state convention next week. The state GOP sued the city after Mayor Sylvester Turner canceled the convention on Wednesday. The party is claiming breach of contract and seeking more than a million dollars if the event doesn't proceed. Turner says pandemic concerns prompted the cancellation, but the GOP points out he allowed large protests without interference. After Thursday night's refusal of the TRO, a temporary injunction evidentiary hearing is scheduled for Monday.

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The Republican Party of Texas has filed a lawsuit after the city of Houston canceled next week's scheduled in-person convention that was to have been held at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

The lawsuit is against Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, the city of Houston and Houston First Corporation, the corporation that runs the convention center.

According to a news release from the Texas GOP:

"This morning, the Republican Party of Texas filed a lawsuit against Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston First Corporation, and the City of Houston for breach of contract and applied for a writ of mandamus requiring the city to honor its contract.

"The Republican Party of Texas is seeking an injunction requiring the George R. Brown Convention Center to comply with the binding contract and is requesting a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the city from restricting the convention’s events or using the virus as a pretext to cancel the convention.

"Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s use of the Force Majeure clause is just a pretext to his intent to treat the Republican Party of Texas differently than other groups, such as those we have seen from recent protests in the city of Houston. It should go without saying that a political viewpoint cannot be the basis for unequal treatment. Mayor Turner publicly stated his intention to interrupt the convention process and disenfranchise Republicans around the state, and yesterday he put his scheme into action.

"Mayor Turner was explicit in his objective to dig through our contract and try to find a way - any way - to shut us down. Mayor Turner changed Health Department guidelines to impose additional requirements on the Republican Party that he did not impose on other organizations.

"Mayor Turner canceled the convention because he wanted to, not due to any “act of God” - only due to his desire to do so and to hold the Republican Party of Texas to a different standard than other entities. Further, Mayor Turner’s mandate far exceeded the requirements in the Governor’s Executive Order.

"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."

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