As construction crews finish work on the 60,000-plus-square-foot Buc-ee’s Travel Center on Interstate 45 in Texas City, the popular stop for Texas travelers is creating buzz for something other than clean bathrooms and Beaver Nuggets.

State Sen. Dan Patrick, who is in the Republican Party primary runoff for lieutenant governor with incumbent David Dewhurst, posted a Facebook photo on Sunday of him standing with one of the company’s 6-foot-tall Buc-ee’s Beaver mascots at one of the company’s travel centers.

In his post, Patrick praised Buc-ee’s owners Beaver Aplin and Don Wasek for creating “a great business by responding to what customers want and doing it better than anyone else in their industry” and thanked them for their support of his campaign.

On Tuesday, Buc-ee’s corporate counsel Jeff Nadalo emailed media members explaining that, while Aplin and Wasek have contributed to the Patrick campaign, the company has made no endorsement or given money. He said the company’s stores are open to all and that its staff reflects diversity.

State election laws prohibit certain businesses or corporations from donating to campaigns.

“Buc-ee’s doesn’t support political candidates,” Nadola wrote. 

The state Democratic Party joined the fray on Wednesday, calling Patrick out for the post.

Before all of that, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, tweeted that he wouldn’t shop there “since they support a fear-mongering immigrant basher.” The post started an online furor.

Castro’s tweet was soon joined by others and ignited Boycott Buc-ee’s and Back Buc-ee’s campaigns via social media.

For Galveston County residents questioned by The Daily News, support was clearly on the side of the Beaver. The vast majority of the 50 people who commented sided with Buc-ee’s even if they don’t support Patrick.

“If they were supporting a liberal candidate, the left would be calling them courageous,” Donnie Head of Santa Fe said. “Boycotts are a waste of time. Those games don’t work anymore.”

Galveston resident Daniel Guidry doesn’t have time to be bothered.

“I like Buc-ee’s because (the stores) have cheap gas, cool shirts, big drinks and awesome food,” he said. “I don’t need someone to tell me what I need to buy or boycott. I’m a grown, self-sufficient human being. I make my own choices.”

James Oberg of Dickinson likens a boycott to bullying.

“I can support boycotts for human rights or labor protection, but for merely expressing a political opinion — that’s bullying,” he said. “Calling for it deserves mockery and contempt.”

There are those who do support the boycott on political grounds.

“If Buc-ees wants to endorse someone as far right as Patrick, then they must endorse his attitude toward women, Hispanics, poor people, Muslims, Union workers, non-Christians and old people,” John Cobarruvias, a Bay Area Democratic activist and blogger, said. “They could do without my money.”

Susan Criss, the Democratic candidate for state representative, District 23, posted on her Facebook: “Buc-ees. You broke my heart.” She didn’t respond to an email from The Daily News asking whether she supported a boycott.

Galveston County has seen boycott calls becuse of a political stance or support of a political candidate backfire. When groups called for boycotts of Chic-fil-A because of the company’s owners stance on gay marriage, the local store in League City was overwhelmed by supporters.

Two weeks ago, when Arms Room gun range owner Brandy Liss complained that Galveston County Judge Mark Henry’s assistant Roxanne Lewis, a Republican Party activist, suggested Liss would lose business because of an event hosted by Henry’s primary opponent was to be held there, dozens of supporters showed up. Even Henry, who distanced himself from Lewis’ comments, and his wife went to the gun store that day to show their support.

Endorsements and calls for boycotts are a two-way street of public speech, others claim.

“Owners of companies can support who they want politically,” Raymond Lewis of Galveston said. “Personally, I think they should separate themselves individually from all of their employees. There also are consequences to be considered, which they should anticipate, such as calls for a boycott. How effective a boycott may be (or not) to the economic bottom line is almost irrelevant since the call for one has its benefits to the caller, no matter.”

Others see the boycott as a call to arms.

“My kids would be very upset if I stopped (shopping at Buc-ee’s),” Renee Ayres of League City said. “I’m smart enough to research who I’m voting for and don’t need a business or person telling me what to do. I think I will stop there when I leave the doctor.”

Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or tjaulds@galvnews.com.

(20) comments

Robert Young

Looks like DEM Rep Castro and Republican County Judge assistant Lewis target their political opponents livelyhood ..Boycott the Bullies. .not the victims.

Andy Aycoth

I just hate politics!

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

Well, I didn't need to read this article to already know that Buc-EEs wouldn't be a place I would want to frequent or patronize anyway. That is because....

Buc-EEs throughout Texas has always been in the similar vein of Cracker Barrell and Chic-Fill-A. They are havens for the straight-only, christian "white only" fringe. Even the name "cracker" holds dubious connotation.

As it is, folks in the know will wait to get back to the island to gas up. Or, gas up on the island before crossing over the causeway. Even though economically, the Buc-Ees will benefit the county, as there's plenty of "victims" on the conservative fringe to frequent the place, if you truly want to support a company that appreciates diversity, then you'll want to skip the Cracker Barrells, you'll want to skip the BucEes, and skip the Chick-Fill-A - s.

Chris Gimenez

"The trouble with our liberal friends isn't that they're ignorant, it's that they know so much that insn't so." Ronald Reagan

Servitude, your incessantly spout the bigotry, hatred, and intolerance that you shamelessly accuse and cast on anyone who doesn't follow the left-wing dogma of government dependency to "solve" their every concern, no matter how shallow and baseless.

If all the restaurants above are essentially "white only" in your perverted mind, why don't you tell everyone which restaurants get the left-wing stamp of approval for diversity? You see, you and your ilk have nothing to hang your hats on other than fabricating bigotry, hatred, and racism where there is none. You people have caused more personal failure in this country than the right can possibly repair.

This is how utterly cracked you are.
"as there's plenty of "victims" on the conservative fringe to frequent the place, if you truly want to support a company that appreciates diversity, then you'll want to skip the Cracker Barrells, you'll want to skip the BucEes, and skip the Chick-Fill-A - s."

Who is constantly playing the "victim" card? It's democrats and their supporters on the left.

If you truly want to support a company that appreciates diversity, then skip the others? What kind of goofball statement is that? That's the twisted, scatological thinking of those on the left who offer absolutely no solutions to any problems in this country. You people foment more hatred, bigotry, and intolerance in this country than any conservative could possibly think of.

Mike Leahy

Support diversity by carefully choosing who you buy gasoline from? Man, that is hilarious.

Who qualifies as worthy to be considered diverse, anyway? Do Italians count? Ukrainians? Polish folks? How about people who part their hair on the Protestant side of their head? Left-handers, maybe?

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

Response to miceal o'laochdha posted at 7:42 am on Thu, Mar 13, 2014:

Well, there are plenty of folks who choose where they gas up according to their beliefs. Case in point, folks who are concerned about the oppressive Venezuelan regime(s) make a conscious effort to not patronize chevron. I, for one, as much as I like HEB because they are "Texas" and have great products - I won't frequent HEB because they refuse to rebuild on the island.

I think you miss the point regarding "who is worthy to be considered diverse." Actually, I can't seem to wrap my head around that. Bottom line is if an individual publicly derides a group of people, such as Mr. Cathy regarding gays/lesbians, that individual puts up a wall of divisiveness. He/she deserves what's coming in regard to losing business. By the way, Dan Patrick is a divisive individual too. Even many other republicans find him way too abraisive. Despite his publicity stunt with the BucEE people, he very likely will not win the run-off. Karma does interesting things to folks of his ilk.

Leon Lion

Citgo is the Venezuelan owned gas service stations.

kevjlang
Kevin Lang

As rukidden notes, Citgo is owned by PDVSA, the national oil company of Venezuela.

However, Chevron does have production development projects ongoing with Venezuela.

Exxon and ConocoPhillips had operations in Venezuela that were snagged by the Venezuelan government a few years ago. Once all of those cases are settled, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see them also lured by the assessment of Venezuela having the 2nd largest reserves of heavy oil in the world, and finding ways to partner with Venezuela to develop those reserves.

Leon Lion

I had to go to Venezuela several years back to inspect some equipment in one of the PDVSA refineries. The plant was in such bad condition that they could not refine their own oil into gasoline.

They just cleaned up the crude somewhat and paid offshore refineries to make it into gasoline and then ship it back.

It was so depressing to see what socialism had done to the country and it's infrastructure.

kevjlang
Kevin Lang

I think corruption is the bigger cause. Corruption here has also led to diminished capability of our infrastructure, too. Neither Socialism, Democracy, or Capitalism dicate neglect of assets. Corruption cripples the ability to stay on top of those things.

kevjlang
Kevin Lang

I might also add that many oil refiners source some of their crude from Venezuela. Also, service stations of all brands may get their gasoline from any of many refiners within their distribution area. So, even your Exxon or Valero gasoline purchase may be just as likely to be supporting Hugo Chavez as the gas you pump at Citgo.

If you want to make sure that Venezuela doesn't get any of your gas money, you'll need to buy yourself a working well in Eagle-Ford, set up a refinery that cracks only your crude, and run your finished gasoline in your own pipeline to a pump at your front drive. Certainly doable, but probably more than you'd be willing to spend.

Carlos Ponce

Much ado about nothing. In a few months the ProgLibs will stop their posturing and return to Buc-ees for gas and other amenities. Someone take a picture of Susan Criss or Joaquin Castro or John Cobarruvias going into Buc-ees and post it for our amusement. Hey, I just noticed "Bay Area Democratics" have a BAD acronym.... Cool!!! Do you use Michael Jackson's "I'm BAD" for your theme song?[innocent]

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

Response to bvresident posted at 8:15 am on Thu, Mar 13, 2014:

Well, clearly your several fledging name-calling responses to me perfectly delineate the illustrations I have given regarding the establishments aforementioned. I love how you also used the Archie Bunker-like term "you people". LOL

And, no, I don't hear of progressive/liberal establishments in our area that try to close out and "trash" the conservative clientele or "God's Own Party" so to speak. Can you name any liberal mercantile places that do?

Now, you might want to give the Unitarian universalists and some of the UTMB-run establishments a try. You might learn something and broaden your cubby-holed mind.

Chris Gimenez

You're certified.

Jeffs
Jeff Smith

Sorry, I can't support the boycott. I need Beaver Nuggets and 99 cent refills.

Mike Meador

sverige1: I thought I was unhappy; you take the case! Where do you go to do anything? Buy anything? I've got to see your "diverse" list so I can't get on the same boat of unhappiness you must live on.

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

Hey, cougargator:

It's not really about happiness or lack thereof. I can happily choose to not go somewhere and still feel good about it. All I know, in relation to this article, is if the likes of Dan Patrick supports a place like BucEEs, then in a healthy-minded fashion, I will choose not to frequent the establishment. If it makes anyone else happy to go to a place like that or not - for whatever reason(s) - , then they have all the blessings in the world to do so.

Ann Derek

"Liberalism is a disease. Common sense is the cure." I don't know who said this but I agree. There aren't enough drugs in the universe to fix their problem.

Steve Fouga

Extremism is a disease. In either direction. I guess I should say in any direction.

Brad Gulick

Boycott San Antonio

Go to Buc-ee's

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