Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in September. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) Wednesday called off the Texas Republican Party's in-person convention set for next week because of a statewide spike in coronavirus cases.

Driving the news: The Republican Party of Texas filed a lawsuit against Turner and the city of Houston on Thursday for a breach of contract and asked for a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from restricting convention center events.

  • “Mayor Turner canceled the convention because he wanted to, not due to any “act of God” – only due to his desire to do so and to hold the Republican Party of Texas to a different standard than other entities," Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey stated.
  • Turner has pushed the state GOP to host its convention online and on Wednesday instructed the venue's operator to cancel its contract with the party.

What they're saying: "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 at a press conference, according to CNN.

  • "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."

The big picture: Turner told CBS Sunday that the coronavirus outbreak in Houston could overwhelm its hospital system.

  • Houston's Harris County has reported more than 39,000 coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • On Tuesday, Texas reported a record 60 new deaths and 10,000 new cases. In total, it has seen more than 216,000 cases and at least 2,796 deaths.

Go deeper: At least 5 Republican senators say they will not attend GOP convention

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