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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, December 16 and 18, 1986. Interview C-0038. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Campaign establishes a strong foundation before seeking votes through ads

Sanford's broad strategy in his 1986 Senate contest was to run on his record, he says. More specifically, he tried to set up a strong foundation of support before blanketing the state in television ads and attacking Sanford's opponent in his weak areas.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, December 16 and 18, 1986. Interview C-0038. 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

Yeah, well everything that's been written about the campaign keeps talking about the brilliant strategy.
Yeah, they called it a brilliant strategy because we won [laughter]. But we did have a strategy, and we did stay true to it all the way through, even when people were badgering me about not doing it a different way. We stayed with the strategy.
What was that?
Well, the strategy was to run on my record. The strategy was to organize the counties and spend the summer doing that, not spend the summer developing issues, not spend the summer even trying to get statewide publicity, and certainly not to waste any money on television or radio during the summer. But to get the ground work laid and then to come strong in the fall with television, emphasizing and developing my credibility on the basis of my record and then comparing his record and my record. That was the broad strategy. Now tactically from time to time we might not have done something that we would have anticipated doing, but you don't always anticipate your tactics. You can anticipate your strategy. I would have had no way of knowing that we would have had to face the issue of my being soft on communism, or coddling communists and weak on defense. I might have guessed that he was going to hit me for weak on defense. One reason that we used the parachute picture in the primary [was to show] that I wasn't weak on defense. So just from a point of view of tactics we certainly had to deal with what he dealt with because part of our strategy was to take his issues and play his cards against him, and if he indeed had issues that were damaging, to end up making him look like the least reliable player. Say on taxes—as it turned out in the final analysis he was least trusted to keep taxes down, not me. I suppose we anticipated their approach on that and it was probably a part of our overall strategy.