Parey Pershing Branton, Sr.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia by Billy Hathorn, Class of 1966


Parey Pershing Branton, Sr. (born November 1918), is a retired businessman and a former Democratic member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Webster Parish, who served from 1960-1972. His district included the parish seat of Minden in north Louisiana. In the mid-1960s, he called himself a "Wallace--Goldwater--Free Enterprise--Right-to-Profit Democrat" and printed that slogan on his private vehicle. He refused to support the national Democratic presidential candidates during his tenure in the legislature. Instead, he endorsed Republican Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona in 1964 and former Alabama Governor George C. Wallace, Jr., in 1968, who ran on the American Independent Party banner in a vain attempt to block the election of either Richard M. Nixon or Hubert Humphrey as president.

Branton gave up his legislative seat after three terms to run for lieutenant governor in the 1971 Democratic primary. He was paired on an intraparty ticket with state Senator John G. Schwegmann, Jr., (1911-1995) of Jefferson Parish in the New Orleans suburbs, the gubernatorial choice. Schwegmann, the owner of eighteen grocery stores, was an outspoken conservative who had long been critical of excessive state spending and expanded government. The Schwegmann-Branton ticket fared poorly. Schwegmann finished in fifth place in the primary.

Branton was seeking to succeed conservative Lieutenant Governor Clarence C. "Taddy" Aycock of Franklin in St. Mary Parish in south Louisiana. Aycock was running for governor that year and finished a notch behind Schwegmann. Branton was weakened in his campaign by the presence of a second candidate from Webster Parish. The building contractor Francis Edward "Ed" Kennon (born 1938) of Minden, a nephew of former Governor Robert F. Kennon, was also running unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor. The ultimate winner of the lieutenant governor's race was former New Orleans City Council member James E. "Jimmy" Fitzmorris, Jr.. Shortly thereafter, Edward Kennon was elected to the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

Branton was philosophically aligned with State Senator Harold Montgomery (1911-1995) of Doyline in Webster Parish, another staunch conservative often at odds with his party. Branton was also personally and philosophically close to his successor, R. Harmon Drew, Sr., of Minden, another conservative Democrat. In 1995, Branton was an honorary pallbearer at the funerals of both Montgomery and Drew.

Branton resides with his wife, the former Georgia Lusby (born 1921), in the town of Shongaloo, north of Minden. He was the mayor of Shongaloo from 1983 to 2001. He was succeeded in the mayor's office by his son, Daniel Miles Branton (born 1949). The Brantons also have a younger son, Parey P. Branton, Jr. (born 1951).

Submitted by Billy Hathorn


"Harold Montgomery obituary," Shreveport Times, December 18, 1995


Preceded by
Mary Smith Gleason
State Representative from Webster Parish

Parey Pershing Branton, Sr.

Succeeded by
R. Harmon Drew, Sr.