James Dickey, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, has told Galveston County GOP officials to get their house in order — or risk losing delegates at the state’s Republican Party Convention in June.

Dickey sent an email to Galveston County Republican Party Chairman Carl Gustafson on Feb. 26, expressing concern that a recent vote taken at a county meeting “overstepped” in trying to remove another party official from office.

The chairman said he was monitoring the turmoil in Galveston County closely.

“If the competing interests continue in the direction they are going, the State Convention will likely be the ultimate arbiter of what is and what is not valid,” Dickey wrote. “This may result in tremendous cost to those delegates in your county who have nothing to do with these disagreements as they make plans to attend a state convention that may not recognize their credentials.”

Local delegates to the state party convention are chosen through locally held precinct and senate-district elections. Delegates who attend the state convention vote on things such as the official party platform.

Dickey said in the email he was concerned about a vote to remove Scott Apley, who is both the chairman of Senate District 11 and one of the county precinct chairs organizing against Gustafson.

Losing delegates would be a blow to local Republicans who invest time and money into supporting and developing the party locally, said J.T. Edwards, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, and one of the major organizers behind the moves to strip power from Gustafson.

“You’ll have people going to an event to try to participate in a process, only to find out because of careless actions of a poor leader that they can’t participate and have to go,” Edwards said.

In the monthslong saga within the county party, one of the loudest criticisms against Gustafson was over this ability to organize the precinct and district conventions. Gustafson and his supporters have dismissed the criticism, and have accused Edwards and other of misinterpreting party rules because of personality differences.

Gustafson declined to comment late Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement sent late Wednesday, Dickey said it was important for the Galveston County party to follow rules so a full delegation will be at the party convention.

“In a big tent party people will disagree,” Dickey said. “I am hopeful that those in Galveston County will resolve their differences in a manner that will avoid delegate challenges and I look forward to a successful state convention in San Antonio.”

Gustafson is facing a re-election challenge from Yolanda Waters in next week’s primary election.


Galveston’s local U.S. representative was apparently the target of a conservative effort to oppose an increase in a federal gasoline tax.

The Dallas Morning News reports that a conservative action group, the Texas chapter of Americans for Prosperity, made thousands of calls into U.S. Rep. Randy Weber‘s district, which includes Galveston County.

Americans for Prosperity is backed by the billionaire Republican donors Charles and David Koch.

A spokesman told the Morning News the group just wanted to send a “friendly reminder to stand strong” to Weber and other representatives.

The gas tax has not been raised since 1993, but President Donald Trump has apparently floated the idea of raising it as a way to pay for infrastructure projects.



President Donald Trump lent his support to a group of incumbent Texas leaders up for re-election.

In two tweets on Tuesday, Trump endorsed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, Comptroller Glenn Hegar and Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick.

All of the incumbents have been vocal supporters of the president.

There was some twittering online after Trump left Bush out of his first statement. Bush is in one of the more competitive statewide GOP races, against former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, and he notably split from the rest of his family to endorse Trump in 2016.

Trump endorsed Bush four hours after endorsing Abbott.

“Texas LC George P. Bush backed me when it wasn’t the politically correct thing to do, and I back him now,” Trump said.


U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said the conservative group might support gun reform legislation involving background checks, but said “it’s really too early to tell the scope” of other legislative efforts. U.S. Rep. Randy Weber is a member of the Freedom Caucus. ... U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Chuck Grassley couldn’t reach a deal on ethanol regulation during a meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday. Cruz wants to ease rules requiring oil refiners to buy credits to meet environmental regulations. ... The Texas Tribune, quoting a Republican political observer on Galveston District Court Judge Michelle Slaughter‘s bid for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, reported: “She’s the least qualified, but she’s the farthest right.” ... The Galveston Municipal Police Association plans to hold a candidates forum for Galveston City Council candidates on Wednesday at the San Luis Resort, 5222 Seawall Blvd.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

(3) comments

Scott Apley

This entire situation is very unfortunate. And while this latest kerfuffle is really just a microcosm of the dysfunction that the Galveston County Republican Party chair has subjected the organization to over the last year and 1/2, this time the stakes are much higher. Up until this point at least, the damage caused by the county chair has been limited to the county party. But now, there are going to be hundreds of innocent delegates, who have no responsibility for or understanding of this conflict who are going to be the victims of the actions of a rogue party chairman.

As chairman Dickey stated in his letter, people are going to be taking off of work, spending money for travel and lodging, setting aside money for meals and souvenirs, all in an effort to participate in conducting the very important business of the Republican Party of Texas. And if Carl and his handlers continue on this course, it is safe to say that there is going to be a large number of people who are going to be told that all of that investment was wasted and they will be disqualified as delegates.

The County Executive Committee, and the District Executive Committee, are two separate and distinct organizations. As the elected chairman of the Galveston County Executive Committee, Carl Has zero authority, responsibility, or say whatsoever on the matters of the District Executive Committee to which I was elected chairman in November 2016. The responsibility of conducting the Senatorial District 11 convention, rests with me. The letter from Chairman Dickey suggests as much. as stated in the article, Chairman Dickie has advised Carl that he has overstepped his authority by attempting to remove me from a position I was duly elected to. I think you have to understand that that is going to be a critical piece of information if the credentials committee in San Antonio is forced to take up the issue of determining which convention is valid. This is not about Carl and me. This is about 128 delegates and 128 alternate delegates who are on track to become the innocent victims of a rogue County Chair who believes that there no rules or laws that he is not above.

I am calling on Chairman Gustafson to end this charade and I am asking all Galveston County Republican elected officials to do the same. Not for my sake. But for the sake of the delegates who have done nothing to deserve becoming casualties of an ongoing, internal feud that they have nothing to do with.

Alison Putman

Well it's about time that the Republican Party of Texas intervened and set firm limits with rouge Chairman Gustafson and his rule breaking behavior. The County Executive Committee (CEC), which is made up of precinct chairs, has endured 18 months of his complete disregard for the rules . He fired his executive board in 2016 when they challenged his disregard for the bylaws. There is no provision in the bylaws for firing duly elected vice-chair, treasurer, or recording secretary. Only the CEC can vote in or vote out members of the executive board. More recently, he recruited 13 college educated, middle aged, white men to run against incumbent precinct chairs, who are mostly women. The precinct chairs he is trying to replace are committed party members who have called him out on his rule-breaking behavior. As it stands, the Chairman has only 5 precinct chairs who support him as evidenced in his inability to get any more than the 5 PC's to make a quorum for a legal meeting. It's as if the Chairman wants to exterminate the Republican Party in Galveston County and create a new party made up of "yes men", all white and college educated. Carl Gustafson must be stopped and the only way to do that is to VOTE HIM OUT on March 6th.

Ron Shelby

Don't be foolish: Problems in Galveston's GOP started way before Gustafson came along.

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