Candidates Express Interest in Running For Branch’s Position

Chart Westcott waves a flag during the Park Cities Fourth of July Parade. His float bore a banner that said "Chart Westcott for Texas." (Staff photo: Andrew Buckley)

Chart Westcott waves a flag during the Park Cities Fourth of July Parade. His float bore a banner that said “Chart Westcott for Texas,” without specifying the office he is seeking. (Staff photo: Andrew Buckley)

Now that Rick Perry has said he won’t run for re-election, Attorney General Greg Abbott is all but certain to announce his bid for the governor’s mansion. After that happens, most likely on Sunday, state Rep. Dan Branch is widely expected to officially launch his candidacy for Abbott’s position.

So the real question is, who will make a run at the District 108 seat in the Legislature, which the Republican from University Park has held for 10 years?

Chart Westcott, 28, was riding on a float in last week’s Park Cities Fourth of July Parade that bore a “Chart Westcott for Texas” sign. When asked what specific office he’s seeking, Westcott said he’s interested in Branch’s job, assuming all the dominoes fall as expected.

Westcott, who is single, said he grew up attending Highland Park ISD schools but graduated from Greenhill. He has a law degree from SMU, and he works for Westcott LLC, an investment firm founded by his father, Carl.

A recent appointee to the Texas Real Estate Commission and the founder of a political action committee called the Conservative Values Coalition, Westcott is rumored to have amassed more than $700,000 in donations. Legislators and candidates must file semi-annual campaign-finance reports by Monday.

Another potential candidate is Court Alley, executive director of a political action committee called Brighter Dallas. His Twitter profile description includes #District108.

Alley, 33, said he is also interested in running for Branch’s position, assuming it comes open. A graduate of Highland Park High School, he is the president of Caruth Marketing, which he named after his favorite childhood park.

Alley and his wife, Mary Clare, a clinical psychologist, live in Devonshire with their 1-year-old son.

Court, Mary Clare, and Ford Alley (Courtesy of Court Alley)

Court, Mary Clare, and Ford Alley live in Devonshire. (Photo: Thisbe Grace)

By Dan Koller Jul. 11, 2013 | 6:00 am | 59 Comments | Comments RSS
59 comments to "Candidates Express Interest in Running For Branch's Position"
  1. Park Cities Parent @ July 11, 2013 at 9:57 am
    I am confused how Chart Westcott could found the Conservative Values Coalition and claim he is “pro-life” and “pro-business” when he donated $2,500 to CA Governor Jerry Brown in his race against Meg Whitman. Jerry Brown supports federal funding for abortions and runs the worst economy in the US. This seems contradictory and hypocritical if not opportunistic.

  2. Avid Reader @ July 11, 2013 at 11:01 am
    Between the two of these candidates there is no question who would be a better representative. Talk to them each for 5 minutes and your decision will be made if they are the only two in the race.

  3. Hp mom @ July 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm
    There are three people running. I find it kinda sad that nothing was said about the third person. He has more experience than Chart and is a better decision. Sad that the writer of the article didn’t do their homework bc the other person has been mentioned in many other articles.

  4. Dan Koller @ July 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm
    I find it kinda funny that you think this third person is so important, yet you don’t mention his name.

  5. Reader @ July 11, 2013 at 1:45 pm
    The third person running is Morgan Meyer a dallas lawyer and a great man.

  6. Avid Reader @ July 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm
    @Hp mom, I find it kinda funny that you would leave out the third person running in your comment on who would be the best decision. Does your mystery man Morgan have more experience than Chart but less than Court? If Court has more experience, does that make him the better decision? What exactly is mystery man’s experience?

  7. Mom & Lawyer @ July 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm
    Morgan is not just another Dallas Lawyer, but a 14 year lawyer, partner at Bracewell Giuliani and a great dad to his 3 kids. I know him from both work circles and casually and he is the best person for the job. He is someone with integrity and has the values that we need in Austin. If the author did his homework, I’m confident he would come to the same conclusion.

  8. joe @ July 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm
    Chart looked more like a spoiled, frat boy in the parade than a serious candidate. Apparently daddy’s money can only take you so far.

  9. ParkCitiesRepub @ July 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm
    I’ve never seen Morgan Meyer at any Republican event in Dallas until the last few weeks. Convenient that he decided to start getting involved right before he runs for office. What “experience” does he have that prepares him for being a good member of the Texas House? To me he looks like another trial lawyer trying to buy his way into a campaign seat so he can protect the interest of other trial lawyers. How long till Steve Mostyn and Texas Trial Lawyers Association kicks in a few thousand to his campaign? Both Court and Chart have both been involved in GOP politics in Dallas and the Park Cities for years and are genuine conservatives, not johnny-come-lately “republicans” like Meyer.

    Chart is my choice, but I think either he or Court could do a good job as well. I just like the work Chart did to bring extra funding to catch child predators/pedophiles with protect and that he has the experience and connections in Texas politics and the GOP to represent the Park Cities well.

  10. FactChecker @ July 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm
    “ParkCitiesParent” do you work for Meyer or Alley? One small donation to a Democrat in 2010 vs. $25,000 and not a penny given to Republicans in Texas since then. Which other candidate has done more more the GOP than Chart?

    For the record, Meyer and Alley have each given a whopping $750 to candidates. Doesn’t sound like they are too sold out on helping the GOP win seats.

  11. FactChecker @ July 11, 2013 at 4:02 pm
    Excuse me, not a penny given to Democrats since*

  12. XT @ July 11, 2013 at 4:10 pm
    Court Alley? Chart Westcott? Morgan Meyer?

    These sound like fictional names from some bad romance novel.

  13. Southern Gent @ July 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm
    @ Factchecker

    I don’t have a dog in this hunt nor do I know anything about any of the candidates except what is mentioned above, but I’d much rather have candidates that haven’t donated anything to anyone than one that has donated to Governor Moonbeam.

  14. PC Lawyer @ July 11, 2013 at 4:25 pm
    I have the privilege of knowing all 3 of the candidates (Chart, Court, and Morgan). I’m unquestionably supporting Chart Westcott. While Court and Morgan are both nice guys, Chart has spent the past few years busting his hump for Republican candidates all over the city, county, and state. He’s raised tens of thousands of dollars for other candidates and was named Dallas County Young Republican of the Year. He’s got great political instincts and will work hard for this district. On top of that he’s a fantastic guy and one of the hardest working candidates you’ll ever meet. He’ll make a great replacement for Branch.

    I agree with the comments about Morgan. While a nice guy, he hasn’t really been involved in any Republican circles or demonstrated an interest in being a leader in anything. We need someone who has at least shown hints of leadership. Being a lawyer is a sufficient qualification.

  15. HPSCOTS95 @ July 11, 2013 at 4:25 pm
    Actually, there is a 4th candidate that everyone has overlooked. Local real estate mogul, Rogers Healy, is rumored to be running for District 108.

  16. XT @ July 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm
    Wait a second, I just googled these candidates, does Chart Westcott really have a brother named Court Westcott?

    THIS IS FANTASTIC! This is real, right? This HAS to be a TV show.

  17. joe @ July 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm
    How old is Chart?

  18. PC Lawyer @ July 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm
    Excuse me, I meant to say, Being a lawyer alone is NOT a sufficient qualification for state rep.

  19. Park Cities Parent @ July 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm
    @FactChecker: No and No. I have lived in the Park Cities for a long time because of the politics. I always knew Dan Branch would represent my Republican views and want my kids to grow up with the same assurance. If Chart gets through the primary, Angela Hunt will beat him.

    Chart can give more to candidates because he works for his dad and inherited a vast sum of money. Chart created the Conservative Values Coalition a little over a year ago because he (and his dad) saw an opportunity (does anyone work for it?). Now he is able to take off work and touts going to pro-life rallies and attacks Sen. Davis personal background. It is insincere to do this when you gave the maximum – $2,500 – to a man who supports federally funded abortions. Voters will see through this and the democrats will make him an easy target and put Angela Hunt in the seat. I do not care about money or family name. I care about sincerity and who can win the seat for the party.

  20. Dan Koller @ July 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm
    Let me pull back the curtain on how this story came to be:

    One of our photographers took a picture of Chart Westcott in the parade. When I was fact-checking the spelling of his name for our special parade section, I found his Twitter page. Westcott had tweeted a picture of his parade float and its generic campaign banner, so I replied to that tweet with “I’m confused. What are you running for?”

    I assume Court Alley is following Chart on Twitter, because he started following me shortly thereafter. That prompted me to look at his profile; I saw the #District108, and asked him why it was there.

    So, neither of these guys called Park Cities People and said, “I’m going to run for District 108.” I had to call them. And Morgan Meyer didn’t reach out to us either. I’d never heard of him until today.

    I guess I could have Googled “potential Dan Branch replacements” or “Texas House District 108 candidates.” But when I do that now, I don’t get any relevant hits. So, Hp mom, what other kind of homework should I have done?

  21. swimmersally63 @ July 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm
    Has Wescott ever commented on why he gave $2,500 to Brown back in 2010. Doesn’t seem to add up? I wonder what he or Wescott LLC was gunning for in California?

  22. caneveryonechillout? @ July 11, 2013 at 4:48 pm
    Jeez, Dan. How dare you do your job and reach out to people.

  23. XT @ July 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm
    Rogers Healy? Please stop, I’m now really starting to think someone is making all of this up. I’m soon expecting on of Jerry Jones’ clan to jump in this race.

  24. PC Lawyer @ July 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm
    @Park Cities Parent: You don’t have to inherit “a vast sum of money” in order to support your fellow Republican candidates. Seems like if you are interested in serving in elected office you would have made at least an effort to support the party. Maybe you can’t donate $2,500, but you could at least buy a $150-250 ticket to a fundraiser for Ken Sheets, Jason Villaba, Dan Branch, Pete Sessions, or any of the other great R’s we have in the area. Heck, you don’t have to inherit a dime to block walk a district for a candidate (which Chart did many times this last cycle).

    And if you think the extremely liberal Angela Hunt can win in this district, you’re in for a shock.

  25. FactChecker @ July 11, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Angela Hunt would beat him in the General? You know so little about Texas politics it is almost funny, but really it’s just sad. This is a solid +15 to +20 R district that has trended more Republican over the last few years. 56% Perry over White, 60% Romney over Obama, 65% Dewhurst over Chavez-Thompson, 58% Cruz over Sadler… The list goes on and on and on. No statewide Democrat has carried HD 108 since Ann Richards or earlier.

    Also, why would giving to a Democrat 4 years ago hurt someone in a General Election? Do you really think Angela Hunt is going to say “Look at Chart Westcott… He have to a Democrat once.” Give me a break. This is GOP primary fodder that either Court Alley or Morgan Meyer has trotted you out of your troll cave to spew. I googled “parkcitiesparent” and all I could find is a twitter page (@ParkCitiesParen) that has only tweeted out negative things about Chart. You haven’t attacked another candidate yet so I can’t be sure who exactly you are working for, but it’s pretty clear you are a paid or volunteer campaign troll for somebody.

    I try really hard not to get caught up in the comments on here, I’m just an actual involved Park Cities Republican that can’t stand to see good candidates names get dragged thru the mud.

  26. PC Lawyer @ July 11, 2013 at 5:39 pm
    @Park Cities Parent: You don’t have to be wealthy to support Republican candidates. Tickets to events for most area Republican fundraisers are $100-250. If you’re interested in running for elected office and claim to be a leader in the community, you would expect that the candidates would support those they agree with financially or otherwise through grass roots work.

    Beyond donating money to candidates, Chart has been out there block-walking for candidates, supporting the grass roots, and raising money for candidates. Last summer, Chart organized a phone bank with dozens of volunteers that met every week and made thousands of calls to voters in the battleground states on behalf of Romney. You don’t have to be wealthy to perform that sort of grassroots work. Any of the 3 candidates could have done any of that work. To my knowledge, Chart is the only one who did.

    Chart obviously had some advantages in life, but your attempts to discount him as a candidate just because of those circumstances is a cheap smear tactic.

  27. Avid Reader @ July 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm
    This is going to get really entertaining.

  28. I Work for My Dad LLC @ July 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm
    Dear PC Lawyer,

    Your comment regarding Morgan – “he hasn’t… demonstrated an interest in being a leader in anything. We need someone who has at least shown hints of leadership.” Grow up. What about working your way up the ranks of a major international law firm and making partner? Also, I don’t know this for sure, but my best guess is that Morgan’s dad isn’t Rudy G.

  29. PC Lawyer @ July 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm
    @I Work: Like i said, Morgan is a nice guy and i have nothing against him. I was not trying to downplay his job. i was referring to his political and civic leadership specifically within the Republican party. I know Chart has done a lot, but hadnt seen Morgan’s involvement. If you know of any examples, I reserve the right to be proven wrong.

  30. anon @ July 11, 2013 at 7:05 pm
    As one of very few non-Republicans in this area, this is very tough to see since my vote, eh, for the most part doesn’t count for much. Typically, though, I’ll vote for the smartest person on the ballot since hopefully, they’ll rise above single-minded partisanship. Sadly, a quick look at all of these guys shows the same thing, toting the party line (faith, guns, and build-a-fence). I’d just like to see someone there who will actually get something done and who will understand the minority position and work together for the common good.

  31. Real McCoy @ July 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm
    Chart Westcott is 28 (according to this article) and has worked for his Dad since finishing law school, which I assume would be around age 25. We need people representing us in office who have an actual understanding of how business and the world works, not someone who has carried a silver spoon in their front pocket their whole life. Just like simply being a lawyer doesn’t qualify you for public office, showing up to events for other GOP pols and donating part of your inheritance to candidates doesn’t qualify you for the state legislature either. Career politicians are the worst.

  32. PC Rep Women @ July 11, 2013 at 7:35 pm
    So does being a partner at a law firm make you qualified to run for office now? In Park Cities/ Highland Park how many partners, doctors, etc. are there? That makes pretty much everyone qualified to run, heck I should run! I really hope Morgan has a better platform than that…

    I am involved in Republican groups in Dallas and Park Cities, it is going to take more than your job to impress me. I want someone that can roll up their sleeves and go to work and who regularly gives back and volunteers in our community!!

    As involved as I am I haven’t heard of anyone mention Morgan while I have met Court and Chart. I went to Morgan’s site and he seems nice and has a beautiful family. I sure hope the people speaking for him on this blog aren’t friends or related to him. With their “grow up” comments, etc. they aren’t putting him in the best light.

  33. a young democrat @ July 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm
    It’s interesting watching the handful of people who actually decide elections (in the primary because of gerrymandered seats) squabble so openly online.

  34. OtherDGirl @ July 11, 2013 at 11:50 pm
    Court Alley was in my class at HP and although we weren’t in the same friend group, I can say he is a lifelong Christian (and I mean a kind, generous Christ-like man, not a “holier than thou” Bible beater), very conservative, very family-oriented, and an absolute class act.

    I briefly talked to him at our 10-reunion almost 5 years ago and he was getting his Brighter Dallas PAC up & running about that time. I would vote for him in a heartbeat and am excited to see promising young Republicans stepping up for government service.

  35. Icebone @ July 12, 2013 at 3:43 am
    Didn’t Chart work for (or intern) Jerry Brown?

  36. DemBones @ July 12, 2013 at 8:53 am
    @Park Cities Parent says, “If Chart gets through the primary, Angela Hunt will beat him.”

    Go, Chart!

  37. Real McCoy @ July 12, 2013 at 9:46 am
    Chart Westcott gave $2,500 to hyper-liberal CALIFORNIA DEMOCRAT Jerry Brown in 2010. Seems like a sizable donation for a then 25 year old to make. And according to the California filings that are available online, Westcotts from Dallas (his family, I presume) gave over $100,000 combined to Jerry Brown for his 2010 campaign for governor. Is Chart Westcott really a Republican, or does he just realize that claiming to be a Republican is good business in the Park Cities?

  38. Bleeding Heart @ July 12, 2013 at 10:07 am
    Dan Koller–are you serious? What incredibly shoddy journalism, or whatever this is supposed to be. You could maybe read the Dallas Morning News blogs, which have been identifing Morgan as a candidate for the last few weeks. His float at the HP 4th of July Parade and attendance at Dan Branch’s 4th of July party might have also been indications that you might want to try to get in touch with him. Or his website, or facebook page.

    Morgan is an extremely intelligent and civically-minded professional who has had the misfortune of actually having to make a name for himself over 14 years in a real-live profession. I’m a democrat, so I haven’t seem him at political events either…however, knowing him personally and professionally for about a decade, I can tell you that he has strong convictions that are not borne out of rote idealogy but from life experience, reason, and logic. Having a political conversation or argument with someone like him is truly an unusual pleasure.

    I have no doubt that he will be anything but highly motivated to do the best he can for your district and absolutely capable of making that happen. Dan–you might want to talk to Morgan–he is the real deal.

  39. DemBones @ July 12, 2013 at 11:46 am
    @Bleeding heart. This blog post asked, “Who is running?” and then named a couple of candidates. It invited comments discussing other candidates–like your comment.

    Dan never suggested he had or was presenting a comprehensive list of wannabes. I see nothing shoddy about his post. We won’t know for sure who is running in the primaries (plural) until the filing deadline.

  40. Bleeding Heart @ July 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm
    The question of “who is running” was answered by this reporter with an incomplete identification of publicly known, viable, potential republican candidates, which as best as I can tell can presently be counted on one hand. Using Chart Westcott’s twitter page as source material does an infortunate disservice to readers of this publication who are actually looking for information.

  41. Sam Tamborello @ July 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm
    Dan Koller should run. Go Dan!!

  42. Avid Reader @ July 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm
    Nothing wrong with the post. Relax Morgan staffers, I’m sure there will be many more posts on this topic; especially after the candidates all formally announce.

  43. Dan Koller @ July 12, 2013 at 4:48 pm
    Angela Hunt tells me via Twitter that she’s not running for the Legislature.

  44. Park Cities Parent @ July 12, 2013 at 9:22 pm
    Do we know (or did you ask Dan) why Chart left HPHS to attend a high school of less esteem all the way in Addison? That seems important.

  45. Edward Furlong @ July 12, 2013 at 10:38 pm
    no fate but what we make for ourselves…..
    do androids dream of electric sheep?

  46. David Anderson @ July 13, 2013 at 6:22 pm
    I’ve known Morgan for a decade and can assure you he’s been involved in Republican causes for a long time – helping everyone from local judicial candidates to presidential campaigns – all while building a successful business law practice. We served as delegates to the state convention together in 2006. When I was president of the Pachyderm Club in 2008-09, I asked him to serve as one of our club officers where he was a valuable part of the leadership team. I’m glad to see someone with Morgan’s experience and leadership skills running for this seat.

  47. XT @ July 13, 2013 at 7:45 pm
    Greenville is certainly not a “school of less esteem”

  48. DemBones @ July 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm
    @XT. I assume the dig was a joke. Or perhaps PC Parent’s yard sign will say, “Don’t vote for Chart. He went to Greenhill.”

  49. RichardC @ July 15, 2013 at 11:53 am
    XT – Greenhill (but you’re right – it is a very good school).

  50. NFW @ July 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm
    XT, if you’re gonna defend it, can you at least get the name right?

  51. Neal @ July 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm
    This is like the Pepsi Challenge, but with douches.

  52. Austinite @ July 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm
    @ Real McCoy “We need people representing us in office who have an actual understanding of how business and the world works, not someone who has carried a silver spoon in their front pocket their whole life.”

    Although I am not political, I have known Chart for 14 years. I have listened, watched and learned so much from him over the years. I can confidently say that Chart has a brilliant understanding of how the business world works; an understanding that he has worked towards for far longer than since he graduated from law school. He was born into a privileged situation and raised by hard working, challenging parents who prepared him well for the real world. I completely support him in all of his political endeavors, as he would be exceptional in office.

  53. NoDalDad @ July 15, 2013 at 6:45 pm
    @Park Cities Parent
    WOW! You need to get out of the Park Cities more. Greenhill “a high school of less esteem” then HP? That is one of the most ridiculous posts of all the above, and that is saying a lot, for there’s a load of ridiculous there.

  54. Chester @ July 15, 2013 at 9:53 pm
    Chart and his father Carl are very good friends and big contributors to Jerry Brown the ultra liberal CA governor.
    Chart worked for Brown in his election. I always thought Chart was a liberal Democrat. Now he is a conservative Republican????

    Who knew? Daddy’s money must mean you can re-write your history!!

  55. Neal @ July 17, 2013 at 11:40 pm
    @Chester: Thank you, we’ve already seen that comment. More than once, actually.

  56. Joe @ July 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    You say you have “listened, watched and learned so much from him over the years.”

    What can you really learn from a 28-year old kid who just graduated from college? Please give us a few examples — and the cheat codes for xBox games don’t count.

  57. Graph Eastbunk @ July 26, 2013 at 4:36 pm
    Turns out Chart has some hilarious things to say on twitter:

  58. Mike and Emmy Guy @ February 3, 2014 at 12:37 pm
    Morgan Myer would be the best candidate. Truthful to himself and family, successful, intelligent. No daddys money, no false prophet bs. No frat boy image. This is not brain surgery. It is HP though.

  59. John @ May 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm
    All of these people are wrong for Texas. They may represent this small enclave of Dallas but they do not represent Texas. This is all so sad to even have to read. We should be progressing as a state, not stuck in the past electing people from 1980s frat movies.

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