Note: We’ll keep adding to this story throughout the convention, reserving a separate story for any major breaking news.
THURSDAY: Business was postponed due to technical issues with the online credentialing process. The convention center was closed to delegates after all but one of the Republican state Supreme Court justices declined to reverse a city of Houston order to close the in-person convention. See our prior coverage here.
FRIDAY: The day began with the end of an emergency SREC (State Republican Executive Committee) meeting at 1 a.m., in which they decided to stay the course. Business was again postponed a technical wrinkles were ironed out and “stress tests” were applied. A federal judge ordered the Houston convention center to allow the RPT (Republican Party of Texas) to meet in-person either this weekend or next weekend. RPT opted to continue an online convention.
SATURDAY: As a twist to the ongoing legal saga, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals this afternoon stayed the federal judge’s ruling that an in-person convention can (conceivably, anyway) still happen.
Earlier this morning, online credentialing and voting proved successful for many delegates and alternates, and the day’s video feeds consisting of incumbent speeches started without a hitch.
However, according to multiple sources, entire counties are unable to have their credentials processed. Roughly 3,000 delegates out of an estimated 6,000 were able to vote in the election for Permanent Convention Chairman.
James Dickey was elected as Permanent Convention Chairman. Dickey was nominated for RPT Chairman for another two years along with Lt. Col. Allen West and Amy Hedtke. Candidates for RPT Vice Chairman include Alma Perez Jackson (incumbent) and Cat Parks.
Several points of order were raised regarding credentialing. After 1 p.m. hundreds of newly credentialed delegates were reported to Congressional District caucuses — many of which are at ease or waiting to gavel-in. CD caucuses will nominate delegates to national convention, national nominating committee members, and RNC representatives, among some other items of convention business. Robin Armstrong enters the convention unchallenged for RNC committeeman and RNC committeewoman is a contest between incumbent Toni Anne Dashiell and Denise McNamara. The races for national delegate this year is particularly competitive due to a smaller national convention size.
By 10 p.m., only 11 of 36 Congressional District caucuses had finished their business. Credentialing and access continued to persist throughout the day, as threats of legal action continue to mount. A General Session featuring speeches for RPT chairman was postponed.
Just before 7 p.m., the convention was in general session debating a list of legislative priorities with just under 3,000 delegates and alternates participating.
State Senate District caucus meetings were scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. but platform debates have pushed them to later this evening.
To address possible credential conflicts and possible voting fraud, the convention issued a 37-digit access code to replace the former five-digit code provided to credentialed participants. Credentials continued to be an issue on Sunday: Out of roughly 9,300 names submitted as state delegates or alternates, an estimated 8,400 were verified online with a voter unique identification number (VUID). The remainder had to be verified via voter databases which slowed the process considerably.
Legislative priorities include: Monument protection including Alamo cenotaph, prohibiting jail time for non-jailable offenses (further clarifying the Sandra Bland Act), parental rights in regard to medical treatments, curtailing emergency powers of the governor, protecting the electric grid that encompasses most of Texas, a prohibition on gender reassignment procedures on minors, abolishing the property tax with a state sales tax, school choice including tax credits, and equal parenting.
By 8:30 p.m., Dashiell and Armstrong were re-elected to the RNC. A list of Electors was approved — the convention’s only constitutional duty. At 8:45 p.m. a list of national convention delegates was approved with closer to 4,000 participants voting.
9:11 p.m.: Legislative priorities voted on by the body include (only the top 8* are included):
*Abortion abolition 73%
Abolish 10-day abortion rule 47%
*Taxpayer funded lobbying ban 60%
*Constitutional Carry 68%
*Gender modification ban 74%
Governor’s emergency Powers curtail 56%
*Election Integrity 81%
Protect Electric Grid 52%
Equal Parenting 35%
*Monument Protection 67%
No Jail For Non-Jailable Offenses 37%
Parental Rights 55%
*Religious Freedom 77%
Sales Tax Replaces Property Tax 60%
*School Choice 66%
10:07 p.m.: A motion to postpone the convention to a later date passes 52-48%. Excluded are RPT Chairman, Vice Chairman, and SREC votes which (we assume) would take place tonight. The motion allows for the selection of a committee of 10 to decide the details of a future convention. Names are currently being submitted to RPT’s Meeting Pulse account, the software being used to conduct online voting, though it seems to have temporarily crashed.
10:57 p.m.: Chairman Dickey announced a DDoS attack is likely to blame for the sudden inability of delegates to submit names or vote on the list of move-the-convention committee members.
11:15 p.m.: Due to vote tabulation difficulties, general session is postponed to allow for SD caucuses to meet.
2:43 a.m.: By this time, it appears Cat Parks for Vice Chairman and Allen West for Chairman have large swaths of SD caucuses sewn up, but it only takes five caucuses to bring a candidacy to the floor. Dickey has at least five SD caucuses won by now, which means whenever the next general session convenes (word has it that it won’t be this morning) there will be no automatic winner for chairman. The “floor” (or its virtual equivalent) will vote for chairman. Voting was incredibly slow in SD caucuses (the ones that decided to follow the rules strictly and not use informal Zoom meeting polls) due to technical glitches at RPT HQ. It was a long night for many, and continues to be a long morning for some.
5 p.m.: Dickey conceded to West earlier today. West is assumed to be the new Chairman, but there is still business to be taken care of by the committee to pick a new location and date and hammer out details not taken up by the convention. Speculation brewing whether courts will intervene to nullify the results of convention votes; party staff convinced credentialing problems does not affect the ability of a quorum of delegates to conduct convention business. (This will be the final dispatch in our coverage of the convention. See separate stories at TheHayride.com for separate stories on any updates. For some inside-track information sign up for our new feature The Speakeasy.)
Agenda and other helpful documents: TexasGOP.org/convention
Live feed of General Sessions at Facebook.com/RepublicanPartyofTexas
Convention Twitter feeds include #RPT2020 and #RPTvision2020
Updated: 5 p.m. Monday