The Chinese coronavirus and ensuing government-mandated shutdowns are threatening to cancel the 2020 Republican National Convention, which is currently scheduled for August 24-27 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Now Texas Republicans are lobbying to move the convention here.

Held every presidential election year, the Republican National Convention is usually a grandiose political event, filled with plenty of pomp and circumstance. While the primary goal of the convention is for delegates from each state to formally nominate the party’s candidates for president and vice president, the event spans several days and hosts plenty of political speeches, events, concerts, and parties.

While there are officially 2,550 delegates and an equal number of alternates, thousands more attend the conventions as volunteers, staff, or just to enjoy the festivities. In 2016, 48,000 visitors descended on Cleveland, Ohio, when the Republican Party Convention took place there.

That’s something North Carolina’s Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper is threatening to hinder.

Under North Carolina’s current coronavirus shutdowns, mass gatherings—such as conventions—are still prohibited. And there is a great degree of uncertainty as to when those restrictions could be lifted.

In a Twitter post over the weekend, President Donald Trump put pressure on Cooper to approve the event, adding that if he didn’t, they would be “reluctantly forced” to find a new site for the convention.

So far, North Carolina’s health authorities have not given the go-ahead, instead asking RNC officials to submit a written “public health plan” for the event for approval.

But while the Tar Heel State dithers, some states—including Texas—are trying to attract a relocated convention.

In an interview on Fox and Friends Wednesday morning, Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey compared the national event to the biennial Republican Party of Texas state convention, set to be held in Houston this July.

“We would do it exactly the way we’re doing it with our state convention. Most people don’t know that the Texas Republican Party state convention is the biggest political convention in the free world,” Dickey said, adding that RPT rules allow for up to 9,000 delegates and 9,000 alternates.

“Texas would be happy to welcome the president,” he added.

Dickey chalked up Democrats’ opposition to hosting an in-person convention as one of cowardice.

“I think it’s a tradition, unfortunately, of Democrats living in fear and not being willing to lead, not being strong and courageous,” said Dickey.

Questions have surrounded the future of the RPT’s state convention as well. Originally scheduled to be held in Houston in May, the convention was pushed back to July due to coronavirus concerns.

While the party has maintained that they are going forward with the July convention dates, some questions have arisen over whether the city of Houston (and it’s Democrat Mayor Sylvester Turner) would allow such a mass gathering to take place, or whether the normally week-long event could be abridged and supplemented with virtual committee meetings during the first days.

Texas Democrats, meanwhile, have moved their convention to an entirely virtual one, taking place online.

Whether or not national Republicans ultimately change convention sites, one thing is certain: their eyes will be on Texas and the state convention as a dry run for the national convention ahead.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens