Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, September 18, 1986. Interview C-0036. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Deciding to run for lieutenant governor

This excerpt offers some insights into the decision of a potential politician to seek office. After deciding against running for governor in 1963, Scott looked around for another political office to pursue and settled on lieutenant governor. He admits that ego was a factor in his decision to seek public office.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, September 18, 1986. Interview C-0036. 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

So anyway, going back to my situation, we talked about running for Commisioner of Agriculture. I ruled that out because it didn't appeal to me. The office of Commissioner of Agriculture had changed to that of being mostly a regulatory agency. It just didn't appeal to me. I wasn't interested in running for congress. That didn't appeal to me. I wasn't interested in going to Washington. Never have been interested in going to Washington. So by the process of elimination, I said, "Well, what about lieutenant governor?" Well, Ben Rooney, my mentor, said, "Ah, hell, who cares about lieutenant governor? That position is a dead end. You run for lieutenant governor, and that's just a place where the former legislators are put out to pasture." But anyway, we broke up and went home, and we agreed we would meet a week later again at the Carolina Hotel. This was, as I recall in January of 1948——excuse me, I'm mixing it up with my Dad's time——1964. We met again down there at the Carolina Hotel. Ben said, "You know, I've been thinking about what you said, about the office of lieutenant governor. That might be a sleeper." At that time John Jordan of Raleigh, who's an attorney and lobbies for the bankers association, was an announced candidate; and the former speaker of the house, Cliffon Blue of Aberdeen, was an announced candidate. Those two were running already. They were both good friends of mine. I liked them both. We sat there in the room, my associates and I, and talked about it and finally decided, "Let's go for it." That maybe we could take that because we knew there was support out there. Nobody paid any attention to the lieutenant governor's race anyway. So hurriedly we got together and called a press conference and announced I was going to run for lieutenant governor, and that's how I got started. I've enjoyed my life in politics. I won all but the last race I was in. I enjoyed it. It was a fast paced eight years as lieutenant governor and governor. I'd like to think we got some things done. That's how I got into it.
KARL CAMPELL:
Well, I've got to ask why you jumped so quickly. There must have been a little interest there when suddenly the chance for govenor came up.
BOB SCOTT:
Well, I guess ego has got a lot to do with it. Anyone who tells you that anybody who runs for public office and doesn't have a lot of ego is crazy. You got to have it to run. I guess that had a lot to do with it. Again, I've always had an interest in what goes on. But again I knew that as long as my father was living and active in politics, and my uncle was in the state legislature at that time, I just didn't think there would be much opportunity for me, really. I wouldn't have, or at least I don't think I would have considered it, if there hadn't been that speculation about my running.