Leave It to Beaver to Become Campaign Issue in Texas

Candidate's Facebook photos thrust Buc-ee's convenience store chain into political spotlight

Buc-ee (left), Dan Patrick

Buc-ee (left), Dan Patrick

LAKE JACKSON, Texas -- A social media war erupted in Texas earlier this month, with Buc-ee the Beaver, the mascot of the Buc-ee's Ltd. convenience store and travel center chain at the center. State Senator Dan Patrick (R), who is running against incumbent Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst (R) in the May 27 Republican primary runoff election, posted two photos of himself on Facebook with Buc-ee and the chain's owners, Arch "Beaver" Aplin and Don Wasek, with the following statement:

"I am very proud to have the support of Buc-ee and his owners. Meet the men behind Buc-cees. Like so many Texans I love Buc-ees. The service is great, the food is great, especially my favorite, the Pastrami sandwich, and of course my wife loves the clean bathrooms. Jan and I stopped at Buc-ees everywhere on our campaign trail day, night and in the middle of the night. We did a lot of Christmas shopping there. We didn't have time for mall shopping this year. To my great delight after our win Tuesday I got a call from the owners of Buc-cees who said they wanted to meet and support me. I love entrepreneurs and Don (on my left) and Beaver (on my right) are two of the best we have in Texas. They have created a great business by responding to what customers want and doing it better than anyone else in their industry. These two long time Aggie friends build a business that is not only extremely successful, but one that has become a part of Texas culture. I really enjoyed meeting them last week and appreciate their support. And don't forget to try the Pastrami sandwich the next time in Buc-ees."

U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro (D) responded with the following tweet @Castro4Congress: "Won't gas up there anymore since … Buc-ee's endorses Dan Patrick for Lt. Gov."

He also tweeted, "Wonder how Bucees patrons in Freeport, Lake Jackson stores feel abt their endrsmnt …"

Followers tweeted mostly in support of a boycott at "#BoycottBucees."

Patrick, in turn, tweeted @DanPatrick, "Who would win a debate? Buc-ee or https://twitter.com/Castro4Castro. I'm on #teambucee but want to hear from you."

Buc-ees company lawyer Jeff Nadalo told The Star-Telegram that Aplin and Wasek were endorsing Patrick personally, not speaking for the chain. "We believe Beaver Nuggets [the company's trademark snack] and beef jerky taste good regardless of political affiliation," adding that the company's employees reflect all viewpoints and backgrounds. "Buc-ee's is not supporting any candidate," he said.

Click here to read the full Star-Telegram report.

Castro relented on his personal boycott of Buc-ee's following the statement, reported Legal Newsline.

Buc-ee's operates nearly 30 locations, all in Texas.