The ongoing response to slow the spread of COVID-19 continues to interfere with election calendars. All four of the state’s qualified political parties are taking steps to postpone or alter the in-person nature of their state conventions, all of which were originally scheduled to occur within the next two months.
The State Republican Executive Committee proposed rescheduling the state convention by two months to July 13-18. It will remain in Houston. The move will need to be ratified at a yet to be scheduled in-person SREC meeting. State chair James Dickey appointed a working group to explore “systems to use in place of in-person meetings – if that becomes necessary – and how those systems might scale to our State Convention as well.”
The Texas Democratic Party will hold its convention, scheduled for June 4-6, digitally. “We view this as an opportunity to do something groundbreaking: by moving into a digital forum, we will make it easier for individuals across Texas to participate by removing barriers associated with travel costs, missed work, or physical ability,” state chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement.
The Libertarian Party of Texas said its “in-person convention in McAllen on April 17-19 will not be taking place.” In a letter to party members, the party’s convention committee said it was waiting on guidance from Gov. Greg Abbott (R) as to whether the convention can be postponed. The party is also considering a virtual convention.
The Green Party of Texas said it has asked the Secretary of State to allow it to hold an online convention. On its website, the party said the Secretary of State was thus far unwilling to waive provisions of the Texas Election Code stipulating in-person conventions, though it is unclear when the party last updated its web site.
Chapter 174, Election Code, governs conventions for political parties which nominate their candidates via primary elections. No provision of this chapter establishes a specific date for the party to hold its convention or the manner in which it is held. Chapter 181, Election Code, governs nominating conventions for parties who do not utilize primary elections. Section 181.061 requires those parties to hold their convention on the second Saturday in April (third if it would otherwise fall on Easter weekend). Our reading of this chapter does not appear to require an in-person convention, as the language is substantially similar to language in Chapter 174, under which the Democratic Party has already moved toward a digital convention and the Republican Party is considering it.
CD2: The campaign of Democratic challenger Sima Ladjevardian said she raised more than $705K during the first quarter, which meant she raised more than $450K since her pre-primary report. Ladjevardian faces U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston) after runoff opponent Elisa Cardnell withdrew.
CD23 open: The campaign of Tony Gonzales II said he raised more than $400K during the first quarter, which meant he raised more than $300K since his pre-primary report.
Wisconsin: The Republican-controlled Wisconsin General Assembly, ordered into special session Saturday by Gov. Tony Evers (D), gaveled itself in and recessed to Monday seconds later. Evers called lawmakers to Madison in a last-ditch effort to delay Tuesday’s primary election after a federal judge declined to postpone it. Evers proposed delaying the election until May 19 and having it be an entirely ballot-by-mail election.
The state is under a “Safer at Home” order effective through April 24. Wisconsin is the only state out of 11 scheduled to hold primary elections in April that has not postponed them.
U.S. District Judge William Conley scolded attorneys representing the Assembly that legislative action would have avoided what may be “a bad decision from the perspective of public health, and it could be excruciatingly bad.”
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