Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner intervened to cancel the upcoming in-person Republican state convention over health concerns, CNN reports.
The Texas Republican Party voted to move ahead with plans to hold an in-person convention despite an increase in coronavirus infections. But Turner, a Democrat, announced on Wednesday that he has instructed the venue operator, Houston First Corporation, to cancel its contract with the GOP.
"A letter has been sent to the (executive committee) of the state Republican Party by Houston First signed by the president and the chairman canceling this convention," Turner said in a statement.
"These are some very serious times and the public safety of the people attending the convention, the employees, their family members, the people in the city of Houston -- the public health concerns are first and foremost, paramount,” he added.
GOP vows to seek legal options:
Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey said the party’s layers were "assessing the ability of the City to act at this time in this manner and weighing our legal options."
"We are prepared to take all necessary steps to proceed in the peaceable exercise of our constitutionally protected rights," Dickey said.
"After allowing tens of thousands of protesters to peaceably assemble in the same city, in the same area, without any of the safety precautions and measures we have taken, he is seeking to deny a political Party's critical electoral function that should be equally protected under the constitution," he added.
Turner says move was to protect workers:
Turner, who is Black, said it was a personal issue for him.
"The linchpin for me (was) when one of the people on my staff, combined with my sister, who said to me, 'mayor, brother, your mom was a maid working at these hotels. And if your mom was alive today working at one of these hotels (would) you as the mayor still allow this convention to go forth and run the risk of infecting your mom?' " he said. "And the answer is no."
"So you don't have to be my mom, OK? But I am the mayor of every single person in this city. And if you're not willing to step up and do the right thing, I am not going to divorce my responsibility and my job."
At least one prominent Republican praised the decision.
"I'm glad Mayor Turner finally stepped in to make this call, which also means the TX GOP will not be on the hook for half a million dollars for cancelling the event - as they would have been if asked to cancel it themselves," tweeted Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw.