Texas GOP Adopts Contingency Plan For State Convention

Alan Scaia
July 06, 2020 - 12:35 pm
Texas Flag

© Brandon Seidel | Dreamstime.com

The Texas Republican Party has adopted a back-up plan in case it cannot move forward with an in-person state convention next week in Houston. The convention is scheduled July 16-18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

"A seven to nine thousand person convention is very much a niche market," says Texas GOP Chair James Dickey. "So, we have been working on this for a while, now."

The Texas Republican Party's executive committee spent more than three hours debating potential changes Sunday evening. Party leaders say they needed a contingency plan in case Governor Greg Abbott or local leaders in Houston say the convention cannot go forward in person.

"We need to be able to move quickly if we choose to," says Gary Teal, a committee member and executive director of the Travis County Republican Party. "We're just empowering ourselves to make a quick decision."

They passed an amendment reducing the required notice given to members if they plan to meet to shift to an online gathering from 24 hours to three hours.

"This is all an emergency issue, anyway, which we can hope and pray doesn't happen," says committee member Warren Norred.

"Things change in this emergency," Teal said. "I understand the arguments against it. Normally, I would not be in favor of any shortening of the notice, but we may not have extra time to consider something while we're already in Houston, perhaps."

Delegates also debated potential issues with a convention that would take place online. Dickey says video conferencing services may limit the number of people able to attend a meeting, and he says those services often have a delay which would make delegate motions difficult to follow in real-time.

"If we must go online, we will necessarily be limiting delegate rights," Dickey says.

The committee voted against an amendment that, if the in-person convention is allowed, would have required a process for delegates to attend meetings by video conference if they choose not to attend.