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McBrayer takes decisive win to be Lubbock’s mayor; tough road ahead for new city council

Former city council representative for District 3, Mark McBrayer, celebrates after winning the first runoff election for mayor in Lubbock.
Brad Burt
Former city council representative for District 3, Mark McBrayer, celebrates after winning the first runoff election for mayor in Lubbock.

Lubbock’s first mayoral election runoff ended Saturday with city council representative for District 3, Mark McBrayer, defeating fellow city council representative for District 4, Steve Massengale.

After sitting mayor Tray Payne’s decision not to run for a second term in early December of last year, the mayoral election quickly developed as new candidates brought it to a six-way race by May 4.

McBrayer and Massengale left the May 4 municipal election as the top two vote-getters, but neither carried enough to prevent the runoff election. This led some, expecting a closer result in the runoff, to be surprised when McBrayer took an early and decisive victory.

Massengale called McBrayer to concede the race shortly after early results started to be released, showing a more than 6,000-vote difference in favor of McBrayer. In the end, McBrayer carried more than 70% of the vote.

McBrayer’s campaign sold his leadership as a “new direction” for Lubbock, and after the results, McBrayer said the runoff margin shows what the city wants.

“It shows to the council where I think the citizens and taxpayers of Lubbock want to go. So it's not about me, it's about the citizens,” McBrayer said. “And I hope that our council also will respond well, and we can work very diligently on our crime problem, work on keeping taxes low, and work on making sure that people's neighborhoods, their parks, and the things that they rely on, are taken care of.”

Despite a total turnout of fewer than 17,000 people, meaning around 9% of Lubbock County’s 191,000 registered voters participated in the runoff, and less than 20% of those voters marking a record turnout for the initial election in May, McBrayer said he intends to be “mayor for all of Lubbock.”

“Insofar as it's up to me, I will try to work with people in good faith, who want to work with me for the good of Lubbock, and all of Lubbock and all of Lubbock’s citizens, I will work with anybody,” McBrayer said. “My supporters cross the divide here in Lubbock. And so I hope, out of that, to be able to be a unifying factor.”

With a collective total of six years of city council experience across all seven members, McBrayer acknowledged that challenges will come in the following months.

A few on the dais have already seen their first glimpses into the discordant nature of weighing what they feel is best for the city as a whole against the expressed opinion of residents, such as in the recent controversial decision approving a zone change that will allow construction of a new student housing development in the historic South Overton neighborhood.

Complicated citizen issues like the loss of Lubbock’s public pools due to expensive maintenance and the costly repair of private sewer lateral lines in public alleys, both of which pose the idea of increasing spending for city departments versus placing expenses directly on the citizens, will be top of mind for many Lubbock voters and some of the first matters on the docket for the new city council with all the City of Lubbock’s budget discussions for next fiscal year.

McBrayer said that when he first joined the council in 2022, he looked up to longtime members like former District 6 representative Latrelle Joy, who stepped down this year after 12 years on the council, and his opponent, Steve Massengale. McBrayer added that he continues to respect Massengale, and thanked him for his work on the council over the past eight years.

Other results from the runoff include Gordon Harris's victory in the race for District 2’s city council seat, taking almost 60% of the vote against opponent Anah Menjares.

The race for District 2 represented the only contest for city council seats this year.

District 6’s Tim Collins replaced former Councilwoman Joy, and District 4’s Brayden Rose replaced former Councilman Massengale in unopposed races. After announcing his candidacy to replace McBrayer as District 3’s representative on Jan. 10, the same day McBrayer announced his run for mayor, David Glasheen also took the seat without opposition.

The position of Lubbock’s central appraisal district director at large, placing 3, was settled in the runoff vote, with Tom Keisling winning over Brant O’Hair by almost 3,000 votes.

McBrayer and Harris will be formally sworn in to join the city council at the next meeting on June 25.

Brad Burt is a reporter for KTTZ, born and raised in Lubbock. He has made a point to focus on in-depth local coverage, including civic and accountability reporting. Brad's professional interest in local journalism started on set as a member of the technical production team at KCBD Newschannel 11 before becoming a digital and investigative producer.