McBrayer

Former Greenup County representative and 1979 candidate for governor Terry McBrayer makes the rounds Saturday, August 6, 2011, at the Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Kentucky. Photo by John Flavell

LEXINGTON Terry McBrayer, a political power broker in Kentucky as a lawmaker and a Democratic Party leader whose influence reached beyond the state, has died. He was 83.

The Lexington law firm that McBrayer founded in 1963 in Greenup said in a statement that he died Sunday after a long battle with cancer.

McBrayer was a longtime Democratic National Committee member. He led the Kentucky campaign for President Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996.

McBrayer was elected state party chairman in 1995.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said in a statement that “for over 50 years, Terry McBrayer was a force of nature in Kentucky politics. When Terry set his mind on a goal, he refused to be outworked. That’s how a lawyer from Greenup built a national reputation and a lasting legacy.”

“We may have come from different sides of politics, but we shared a deep love of our Commonwealth and a determination to help it succeed. Terry was always ready to extend kindness, even to political rivals.”

McBrayer earned degrees from Morehead State University and the University of Louisville law school. He represented Greenup County in the Kentucky House from 1966 until 1976. He ran for governor in 1979, losing in the primary to John Y. Brown Jr.

"I was in awe of him before I got into politics," former Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover said on Twitter. "As a legislator, we became friends and shared many conversations about politics, law practice, and life, most recently few months ago. Friend. Great Kentuckian. He will be missed.”

Funeral arrangements were pending Sunday. McBrayer is survived by two children, a sister and five grandchildren.

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