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North Texas Leaders Weigh Economic Boost, Safety Regarding Potential Of Republican Convention

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Republicans haven't abandoned the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina yet, but if they do, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, a Democrat, said he's hoping the GOP wouldn't bring their national convention to Dallas.

"No disrespect to any group, it's just we cannot afford to have thousands of people coming from all over the U.S. to Dallas right now," said Judge Jenkins.

But Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, a Republican, said the county has large stadiums that could hold the tens of thousands of delegates safely because they'd have room to practice social distancing.

"The AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park, there's a number of venues that we could use and I think it'd be a great place to hold the convention," said Judge Whitley.

A spokesman for the Dallas Cowboys says the team has no comment.

But the stadium is scheduled to host preseason games during the last two weekends of August.

A spokesman with the Texas Rangers says the team hasn't been approached by anyone about a convention.

Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Republican of Angleton, said Texas Republicans would welcome the national convention.

"Texas needs the economic boost. We would be elated to have the Republican National Convention in Texas."

The Speaker said if people practice social distancing and wear face coverings, there's no reason a convention couldn't be held in the state.

"Any large convention that can be done safely and brought into our state and wants to be here, we should be doing it if we can make it work and I believe three months from now and I believe three months from now we can make this work."

But Judge Jenkins said epidemiologists and infectious disease doctors advising him say they'd first want to see a drop in hospital visits, ICU admissions, and emergency room visits related to Covid-19 for 42 days straight.

"We just cannot book a gigantic meeting with the situation we have right now in Dallas with the Covid spread. It's unfortunate. I'd love to have the money generated when strangers come to town and visitors come to town."

Asked if there's any scenario he would deem it safe enough to hold a convention in Dallas County, Judge Jenkins said, "Whenever the doctors would say it's safe enough."

For now, large gatherings like a political convention aren't allowed.

There is no timetable yet when that might change.
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