Texas GOP to hold in-person convention this month

Texas GOP to hold in-person convention this month
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The Texas Republican Party plans to hold an in-person convention this month even as the state has experienced a massive outbreak in June, prompting it to roll back reopening policies it put in place earlier this year. 

The in-person convention is set to take place July 13-18 in Houston, one of the epicenters of the outbreak in Texas. The Executive Committee of the Texas Republican Party voted 40-20 to host the meeting of about 6,000 people in Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center, an indoor facility.

“After extensive debate Thursday evening, the State Republican Executive Committee reinforced its support for proceeding with our State Convention in person in Houston,” Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey said in a statement.

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The party has received extensive criticism from the state’s Democrats, who are hosting a virtual convention, as well as the Texas Medical Association (TMA), which is sponsor of the GOP convention.

“This is just not the time to bring thousands of the party faithful from around the state to an indoor meeting in a county that, as I write, reports more than 18,000 active COVID-19 cases,” TMA president Diana Fite said in a letter to party leadership on Tuesday.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an order Thursday making it mandatory for people in Texas to wear a face covering of some kind while inside commercial buildings or when social distancing isn’t possible. 

The state GOP says it plans to comply with Abbott’s order, providing free masks for attendees as well as thermal scanning and hand sanitizer. 

“Against the advice of doctors, medical professionals, and common-sense, Greg Abbott and the Texas Republican Party decided to hold an in-person convention in the biggest coronavirus hotspot in the country,” Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement Friday. “This decision is dead wrong.”

In the 2016 election against former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Kanye West 'not denying' his campaign seeks to damage Biden MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE won Texas by 9 percentage points. The upcoming convention will determine the party’s platform and state leadership. 

In an effort to energize their base, the Trump campaign has held several in-person campaign events indoors, despite the advice of public health officials in the administration.