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
- WALTER DE VRIES:
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.
- TERRY SANFORD:
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.