Documenting the American South Logo
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, [date unknown]. Interview A-0140. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Party realignment splintered Sanford's Democratic supporters

This passage extends Sanford's earlier conversation about his failed presidential bid. Although Sanford's supporters gained practical knowledge of effective campaigning through their work with his gubernatorial administration, Sanford contends party realignment loosened the ties that bound him to his supporters.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, [date unknown]. Interview A-0140. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

When you look back over that 25 years, can you characterize it in any way in terms of what happened politically in the state? When you move to this state, the first thing you hear about is the Sanford machine. Everybody that I've ever talked to about politics has been somehow involved in your campaign. And the notion in '72 that I've come across continually is that somewhere all in North Carolina there are these people involved since 1959 with you, and that you can just call a spring to action, at almost any time. It's like a Kennedy.
But you saw the difficulty I had. I think I could have. I think if I had started that campaign before Christmas, it would have been a different story. But if I'd started it before Christmas, it wouldn't have been the true story, because obviously I started at the last minute, after the trustees said go ahead and do it. Which I would not have predicted they would have said, and I wasn't even thinking about resigning to run. I took it as a tremendous compliment that students initiated it, and I thought it'd be good to say to the trustees, "Look what the students think of one university president." You know, obviously, that wasn't going to hurt me in the setting that I was operating in. I had . . . did not anticipate, until a few days ahead of time, until Charlie Ryan called me, that they would overwhelmingly insist that I run. Well, that was just so late, and I still had a month's obligation that I couldn't get out of, you know, that I had to ride on out. I made the mistake of saying I'd campaign on the weekend, and that further damaged my credibility. But the more important point, I would not take credit for this, but I'd say it's a fact that by 1972 everybody involved in a substantial way in North Carolina politics has been associated with me. So I judge that as being a very good thing, that though we had factions within the factions, the great thrust had been made in that ten year period. And now we were all contending with one another, instead of contending with people that would have been more reactionary. They were where they belonged over in the Republican party. Quite a few people left the Democratic party in that period, Helms one of them. Left the Democratic party.