no convention for now

2 lawsuits filed against Mayor Turner on cancellation of Republican Party convention

2 lawsuits filed against Mayor Turner on cancellation of convention

Horse drawn carriage in front of George R Brown Convention Center for Super Bowl kickoff
The Republican Convention was supposed to take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Photo courtesy of Houston First

A Harris County judge has denied the Republican Party's request for a temporary restraining order against Mayor Sylvester Turner and the city. The Texas GOP asked the judge for a restraining order which would have forced the city to allow their state convention.

The Republican Party said they expected to lose. ""It didn't matter in which court this case landed, we expected a denial from the liberal Harris County courts," said RPT Chairman James Dickey. "We thank them for a speedy denial so we can move forward with the appeal we had prepared."

"RPT will proceed in filing its appeal directly to the Texas Supreme Court given the time sensitivity of the matter as the Convention was scheduled to begin its committee meetings on Monday at the George R. Brown Convention Center," the party said in a statement.

The Texas Republican Party and another group of Republicans filed suits against Mayor Turner and the city for canceling the Texas GOP convention that was scheduled for next week at the George Brown Convention Center.

The Republican Party sued for breach of contract and is asking for a temporary restraining order preventing the city from restricting the convention or "using the virus as a pretext to cancel the convention."

Steve Hotze and four others are suing the mayor, claiming in court documents that Turner's decision is an attempt to silence the Republican Party of Texas.

The plaintiffs argue that, despite issuing formal orders throughout the pandemic, most "ultimately went unenforced, ignored, or even circumvented."

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They continue on to argue that Turner only recently started enforcing such orders when it came to the Republican convention.

Turner said that although he has not read and or seen the lawsuit for himself, he believes his actions were justified.

"The reality is that they signed a contract in March that defined this as a pandemic," Turner said. "They are welcomed to go to the courthouse, but I don't know if the court is seeing people in-person."

"His choices with regard to the RPT's Convention are simply opportunistic and are in stark contrast to the treatment of other peaceful, political assemblies during this same pandemic," the court documents read.

They say the same constitutional rights Turner "advocated for" during protests and marches, he is now "quash[ing]."

"For example, for Houston's June 2 organized march to protest the death of George Floyd, Turner gave a press conference to the City of Houston supporting the marches, personally attended, and gave speeches to large crowds, stating only that people 'should wear a mask, carry hand sanitizer, and attempt to maintain social distance,'" the lawsuit states.

The plaintiffs are seeking a temporary restraining order preventing the cancellation of the TRC. They hope the temporary restraining order "serves to provide emergency relief and preserve the status quo until a hearing may be had on a temporary injunction."

They are also seeking "an award of nominal and compensatory damages."

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