100% Austin news, info, and entertainment, straight to your inbox at 6 a.m. every morning.
In five minutes, you're fully informed and ready to start another great day in our city.
The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is on the short list of "five serious contenders" to play host to the Republican National Convention in August, Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey told Austonia on Tuesday.
Historically blue Austin didn't make the cut. But politics aren't part of it.
"It's 100% the facilities and the lack of available hotel room space," Dickey said.
While Dickey wasn't specific about which city in the Metroplex, which includes both Dallas and Fort Worth and several communities in between, was being looked at, what may ultimately rule out Dallas its a decided lack of interest on the part of Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
The convention was scheduled for Charlotte, N.C. but leaders there blanched at the idea of gathering an expected 19,000 visitors during a pandemic—particularly as President Donald Trump has been adamant that the convention not be curtailed.
Trump announced last week that the convention was looking for a new home.
Scheduled for Aug. 24-27, the National Republican Convention gathers 5,000 delegates and alternates from all 50 states for a weeklong meeting and party pep rally. The number of attendees swells dramatically with guests, staff, journalists, logistical teams, speakers, political groups, planners protesters.
Delegates nail down platforms, hear from inspirational speakers, host celebrity events and prayer breakfasts and parties, and—most importantly—officially nominate the party's candidate for the November election.
The Democratic National Convention is set for the week before, Aug. 17-20, at a Milwaukee convention center but may be held virtually.
In addition to logistics, Dickey said, the city has to want the convention to come.
"Local politics, per se, doesn't play into it," Dickey said. "What is considered for the national convention is the strong desire of the local community to be involved in making it happen. That is required. Because the national convention is a major event and takes major local involvement."
But Dallas may be ruled out sooner rather than later, if that's the case.
Jenkins, a Democrat, said over the weekend that county health officials "strongly recommend against" bringing the convention to Dallas, according to a report by the Dallas Morning News, citing COVID-19 concerns. He also tweeted in late May that it would not be a good idea, given the pandemic concerns.
"I made my peace early on to follow the lead of doctors and so I would respect that," Jenkins told journalists during the online state Democratic convention, according to the report. "And that would be my position on that."
Dickey said on Tuesday that Texas showed it could turn on a dime when it rescheduled its state convention—which is bigger, in terms of delegates, than the national event—from March to July with very little notice after the pandemic caused nationwide shutdowns.
"It was miraculous," he said.
So it should come as no surprise, he said, that the North Texas metroplex be on the short list given that it was also a serious contender for the 2016 convention, when Trump accepted the party nomination in Cleveland.
"The facilities in the Metroplex are top notch and, as I've said repeatedly, if anyone can pull off doing a national convention of this size and scope, in this short of a period of time," he said, "Texas can certainly do it."
- 'We are starting to see the beginnings of a surge,' Escott says ... ›
- Texas Supreme Court denies GOP appeal to hold in-person convention - austonia ›
- 'We are starting to see the beginnings of a surge,' Escott says - austonia ›
- Travis County GOP fundraiser under investigation after complaint it violated COVID orders - austonia ›
Something about Q2 Stadium brings the best out of goalkeepers.
Much like Austin FC's Brad Stuver has done throughout the season, U.S. men's national team keeper Matt Turner kept his team alive in a 1-0 victory over Qatar. The match proved to be a battle of stamina as USMNT's Gyasi Zardes netted a last-minute goal to push Team USA to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final.
Turner, who has conceded just one goal throughout the tournament, continually tipped off shots by an offensively-minded Qatar and put up three saves. Turner now has 18 saves in the Cup.
🧤🧤 Matt Turner was on 🔥 in goal for the #USMNT!
This magnificent save was the Save Of The Game presented by @Allstate #ThisIsOurs #GoldCup21 🏆 pic.twitter.com/MzUScTLNJU
— Gold Cup (@GoldCup) July 30, 2021
The USMNT stumbled through the first half, falling to a 10-shot deficit in the first 45 minutes. Qatar, which gained quick acclaim as the 2019 Asian Cup winners, has not gone scoreless throughout the tournament and has tallied the most goals in the Gold Cup so far.
Qatar saw their biggest shot to topple the U.S. team in the 61st minute after they were awarded a penalty kick. Turner never had to make a save, however, as Hassan Al Haydos missed the crucial shot.
Team USA regrouped and took the reins of the second half, but it was two substitutions by USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter that advanced the team to the continental final.
The two second-half subs, Gyasi Zardes and Nicholas Gioacchini, proved to be the perfect mix for Team USA. As the final whistle loomed, Gioacchini set Zardes up for the first goal of the game in the 86th minute of play.
⚽ The finish ✅
🎥 The camera ✅
🔥 The atmosphere ✅
A perfect goal 🇺🇸🙌#GoldCup21 🏆 #ThisIsOurs pic.twitter.com/KGcpz8aZOR
— Gold Cup (@GoldCup) July 30, 2021
But Zardes wouldn't take credit for the game-changing goal.
"It's not just me, it's a whole team effort," Zardes told FS1. "It was a tight game, they're a great team, but our starters did a phenomenal job at wearing them out... and trying to create opportunities to where when the subs came in, we were able to make a difference."
An outmatched Qatar wasn't able to gain ground as the final tally went 1-0 to the U.S. in Q2 Stadium.
While some were concerned at stadium turnout before the match began, the stadium slowly swelled to near capacity as usual in Austin. Berhalter, whose son Sebastian Berhalter is a midfielder at Austin FC, has previously shown admiration for the MLS' newest stadium.
The USMNT is in Austin for the first time tonight.
After watching his son Sebastian play in the Austin FC home opener, HC Gregg Berhalter is hoping for a similar atmosphere at Q2.
"It's one of the top atmospheres in Major League Soccer." | @KVUE pic.twitter.com/Il4xJ76jvZ
— Jake García (@Jake_M_Garcia) July 29, 2021
This was the second national team match held in Austin in under a month after the women's national team christened the pitch in June.
Next up, Team USA will play the winners of the Mexico vs. Canada semifinal, which takes place at 9 p.m. Thursday, in the Gold Cup final. The final round of the continent's biggest tournament will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in Las Vegas.
- Here's all the local eats Austin FC is bringing to Q2 Stadium - austonia ›
- Guide to Austin FC home game at Q2 Stadium this Saturday - austonia ›
- Q2 Stadium under Stage 4: could COVID hinder the 'biggest party ... ›
- What's happened at the Gold Cup so far - austonia ›
- Q2 Stadium to host international teams in the Concacaf Gold Cup ... ›
- Q2 Stadium to host international teams in the Concacaf Gold Cup ... ›
- US vs. MEX? A how-to guide on the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Austin ... ›
- Guide to the Gold Cup CONCACAF semifinal match in Austin ... ›
The Biden administration is asking cities and states to use pandemic relief funds to pay residents $100 to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reaffirmed prohibitions on pandemic protocols in a new executive order issued on Thursday.
The order emphasizes that "the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates," according to a press release. It outlaws government entities from requiring employees to be vaccinated or individuals to provide proof of vaccination and upholds previous orders restricting government entities' ability to impose pandemic protocols.
Local public health and elected officials have asked all Austinites to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, and unvaccinated individuals to avoid nonessential trips last week given the rising number of local confirmed cases and related hospitalizations in recent weeks. But it is not enforceable under Abbott's order.
The seven-day moving average of new hospital admissions in the five-county Austin metro has more than quintupled since the beginning of July and is now 47.4. The threshold for Stage 5 is 50, according to Austin Public Health's risk-based guidelines.
Despite these trends, Abbott stands firm in his commitment to avoid new statewide mandates and to prohibit local government entities from issuing any of their own.
"Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19," he said in a statement. "They have the individual right and responsibility to decide for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses and engage in leisure activities."
Public health officials have attributed the current spike to the more contagious Delta variant and unmitigated spread among unvaccinated individuals. Abbott encouraged Texans to get vaccinated if they haven't already but affirmed that it would never be required by the state in his statement.
An increasing number of Austin-area employers—including Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White Health, Facebook and the Department of Veterans Affairs—have announced new vaccine requirements in recent days. Austin Mayor Steve Adler asked the city manager to enact a similar requirement on Wednesday, but the city is unable to do so due to an executive order issued by Abbott in April.
- Delta variant, unvaccinated fuel rise of Austin COVID cases - austonia ›
- Gov. Greg Abbott said he won't reinstate mask mandates - austonia ›
- Texas Dems to Abbott: Allow masks, virtual learning at school ... ›
Representatives of the Southeastern Conference voted unanimously (14-0) to formally invite the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma to the prestigious football league.
On Tuesday, UT and Oklahoma requested to join in 2025 after deciding not to continue their media rights with current conference Big 12 in that same year. The two teams are likely to try to join before July 1, 2025, when they were officially invited by the SEC.
Expect the SEC to rekindle that bitter Aggie-Longhorn rivalry, embrace higher-stakes games and rake in even higher television ratings and sponsorship deals. With 16 teams, the SEC will become the NCAA's first superconference. Meanwhile, the Big 12 is likely to drag their feet on the deal and could crumble without their two biggest teams.
While the unanimous vote shows otherwise, a blindsided Texas A&M was not initially happy with rival UT coming into their conference. By BLANK, A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork said the university had changed its mind. "We're ready," Bjork said.
If the two teams accept the invitation, the burnt orange and maroon will meet for a rivalry game for the first time since 2011.
UT and Oklahoma officials will meet Friday morning to presumably accept the invitation.