Odell McBrayer

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Odell Lavon McBrayer
Born (1930-08-16)August 16, 1930
Lakeview, Hall County, Texas, USA
Died March 18, 2008(2008-03-18) (aged 77)
Idabel, McCurtain County, Oklahoma
Nationality American
Occupation Attorney
Political party Republican; candidate for nomination for governor of Texas, 1974
Spouse(s) Mary McCurtamn McBrayer

Scott McBrayer
Tim McBrayer
Stacy McBrayer Torrellas
Barbara McBrayer Hendricks

Lorie McBrayer Gibbons

(1) Though he made a weak showing in the 1974 Republican primary for governor of Texas, McBrayer is considered a precursor of the "New Right" in American politics.

(2) As a candidate, McBrayer advocated the televising of executions to increase the effect of deterrence on criminals.

(3) McBrayer grew up in Donley County in the Texas Panhandle, but he practiced law for years in Fort Worth.

Odell Lavon McBrayer (August 16, 1930 – March 18, 2008) was a Fort Worth attorney, Christian layman, and a Republican candidate for governor of Texas in the 1974 party primary election.

Early life[edit]

McBrayer was born in Lakeview, a town in Hall County in the Texas Panhandle, to Odell Luke McBrayer (1907–1979) and the former Ola Gregory (1911–1987). He grew up in Clarendon, the seat of nearby Donley County and graduated from Clarendon High School. McBrayer was a veteran of the United States Air Force, having been trained in Florida and stationed for his entire service at the former Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock. He was a member of the American Legion. McBrayer initially attended Clarendon College, a community college, and subsequently received his Bachelor of Arts and law degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.[1]


A lawyer for thirty-three years, he served for a time as an assistant district attorney in the Fort Worth area. He ran unsuccessfully for a state district judgeship. He was a member of the American and Texas bar associations. In 2002, he became affiliated with the First Baptist Church in Idabel, Oklahoma, upon his retirement from his law practice when he and his wife, the former Mary McCurtamn, moved there to be near their son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Debbie McBrayer. He was a chaplain of the Bible-distribution group, the Gideons International in McCurtain County in southeastern Oklahoma.[2]

Gubernatorial race[edit]

In 1974, McBrayer, who adapted the poster theme "Texas Must Have Odell McBrayer for Governor"[3] ran in the party primary against the establishment choice, Jim Granberry, a dentist who had served as mayor of Lubbock from 1970 to 1972, and had been responsible for directing the rebuilding after the deadly tornadoes struck on May 11, 1970. Granberry was a favorite of then United States Senator John G. Tower. McBrayer attracted national attention in his race when he called for the televising of executions in Texas to provide a greater deterrent to the commission of violent crime. McBrayer said: "I favor televising executions only if not done offensively."[4] His campaign is sometimes seen as the forerunner to the "New Right" movement which appeared just two years later to support Ronald W. Reagan in the Texas primary against sitting U.S. President Gerald R. Ford, Jr., the choice of Senator Tower and many other Texas party leaders. By 1980, the New Right forces claimed a role in the nomination and election of Reagan as president.

Granberry easily defeated McBrayer, 53,617 votes (77.6 percent) to 15,489 ballots (22.4 percent) in a low-turnout primary.[5] As the Republican nominee in the November general election, Granberry was in turn crushed by the incumbent Democratic Governor Dolph Briscoe, a rancher, large landowner, and banker from Uvalde in the southern Hill Country.


In addition to his wife and son Tim, Brayer was survived by another son, Scott A. McBrayer (born November 14, 1958) and his wife, Gaylynn McBrayer, of Fort Worth; three daughters, Stacy Torrellas and her husband, Carlos Torrellas, MD, of Jacksonville, Florida, Barbara Hendricks and husband, Matthew Hendricks, and Lorie Gibbons and husband, Tom Gibbons, all of Burleson near Fort Worth; four brothers, Gene McBrayer of White Settlement near Fort Worth, Bud McBrayer of Granbury in Hood County, Jerry McBrayer of Edmond, Oklahoma, and David McBrayer of Los Alamos, New Mexico; a sister, Barbara Brown of Weatherford, the seat of Parker County west of Fort Worth, eleven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren (Mackinzie, Darian, and Amelia of DFW). Services were held on March 22, 2008, at the First Baptist Church of Idabel.[2]


  1. ^ Statement of Mary McCurtamn McBrayer, widow of Odell McBrayer, June 27, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "White Funeral Home : Lubbock, Texas (TX)". whitefuneralhome.com. Retrieved 2015-05-12. 
  3. ^ "Ben Guttery Campaign Posters". Archived from the original on August 27, 2003. Retrieved August 27, 2003. 
  4. ^ Felton, B.; Fowler, M. (1994). The Best, Worst and Most Unusual: Noteworthy Achievements, Events, Feats and Blunders of Every Conceivable Kind. Galahad Books. pp. 1–125. ISBN 9780883658611. Retrieved 2015-05-12. 
  5. ^ Congressional Quarterly’s Guide to U.S. Elections, Gubernatorial primaries, 1974