AUSTIN (KXAN) — Struggling to overcome a series of technical issues at its virtual convention this week and facing a looming deadline, the Republican Party of Texas delayed a crucial vote to elect delegates for the party’s national convention until Saturday.
The RPT must elect delegates by Monday to attend the Republican National Committee convention being held in Jacksonville, Florida in August. Those delegates will then nominate President Donald Trump for re-election and cast Texas’ electoral votes if he wins the state in November.
“We’re really at the end of the rope here,” Travis County GOP Chair Matt Mackowiak said of the approaching deadline, adding that he expects all essential business will be completed during the convention.
“Most of the zoom calls you’re on, and I’m on, nobody’s voting on anything, but you have to have 10,000 people vote, and you have to also have integrity in that process,” Mackowiak said.
A last-minute cancelation of the RPT in-person convention by the City of Houston left the party with only a few days to plan and execute a virtual convention, which suffered technical issues on its first day. A federal judge in Houston ruled Friday that the RPT can hold its in-person convention, just days after the Texas Supreme Court denied a similar petition.
In a meeting that stretched from Thursday evening into the early morning hours on Friday, the State Republican Executive Committee voted to hold a delegate election on Saturday.
On Friday, the RPT joined a federal lawsuit in Houston to hold its convention in-person. A hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m.
The Texas Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit on Friday filed by some state Republicans that challenged Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive authority to manage the coronavirus pandemic.
Several county-level Republican groups have censured Abbott for similar reasons. Mackowiak said there may be an effort to censure the governor at the state party convention, too, something he strongly opposes.
In addition to a public reprimand, a censure would cut off Abbott’s access to state party financial resources, though he is well-funded in his own right.
“I think [the censure resolution] calls for a special session and if a special session is not called it calls for impeachment which is again absolutely ridiculous,” Mackowiak said.