Texas GOP sues city of Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner after in-person state convention canceled

Event was canceled in effort to limit spread of COVID-19

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks during a news conference at Houston City Hall on May 29, 2020. (KPRC)

HOUSTON, Texas – The Republican Party of Texas is suing the City of Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner, and the Houston First Corporation after officials canceled the party’s convention due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday morning, according to officials, and is claiming the cancellation of the event is a breach of contract. The three-day event was set to take place July 16 - July 18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

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As reported in a previous Associated Press story, Turner previously resisted calls to cancel the event, and insisted Wednesday that his decision to cancel was not influenced by politics. The cancellation is an effort to help limit the spread of the virus as coronavirus cases continue to surge throughout the state.

RELATED: Houston scraps Texas GOP’s in-person convention due to virus

The lawsuit claims by canceling the event, Turner overstepped his authority, violated free speech, freedom to peaceably assemble and equal protection of the constitution, according to a report from KPRC.

“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,” the Republican Party of Texas said in a release.

The Republican Party of Texas said it aims to reverse the cancellation of the event and still host the convention next week, as it is “the largest single demonstration of political speech and exercise of the freedom of assembly in the world.”

“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.”

The complete lawsuit documents can be viewed below.

RELATED: Nearly 14% of new U.S. COVID-19 cases are recorded in Texas

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