Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
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 >>

A positive campaign appeals to a variety of voters

Sanford describes the different groups of voters who supported him. They included a few bankers and industrialists, as well as teachers thanks to his strong record on education. However, Sanford believes he gained support from a wide swath of the electorate because of his basically positive approach to campaigning and governance.

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

BRENT GLASS:
In your travels across North Carolina during the campaign, what were some of your lasting, not lasting impressions, but how would you describe the Terry Sanford voter? What were some of the impressions you had of North Carolina 1986 as opposed to other times you've campaigned?
TERRY SANFORD:
I think that the voter this time was pretty much like the voter in '60. You name the category, and I had my supporter in that category.
BRENT GLASS:
Sort of broad based.
TERRY SANFORD:
I had some of the top bankers. I didn't have as many of them as I ought to have had. I had a few of the top industrialists. When I ran for governor, I had the head of Cannon Mills, Mr. Cannon, and I had the head of the AFL-CIO. Same way it was this time.
BRENT GLASS:
Teachers?
TERRY SANFORD:
Oh well, of course, we had the teachers with enthusiasm this time. In 1960 they weren't much of a force. I had people from all segments of society because that's been the way I've attempted to serve them is to—I haven't played one against the other. I haven't attempted to unduly favor or unduly punish any segment of society because I don't think that's the way to run a state. So I couldn't—there's no typical supporter. Obviously, I would get the supporter that—the typical Chapel Hill resident would be more likely to support me than to support a Republican.
BRENT GLASS:
In your travels across the state was there anything that surprised you about North Carolina, made you more aware of certain problems, or perhaps that were not as much on your agenda as…
TERRY SANFORD:
Well, you always learn campaigning. A campaign is a communications process. You learn a lot as well as attempt to teach them a lot. And so, of course, I did. On the other hand, I've been here so long, you might say, that I don't know that I was surprised by anything in particular, not anything that comes immediately to mind. I found the reception extremely good everywhere. The crowds, for the most part, with maybe no more than a half-dozen or dozen exceptions all across the state, crowds bigger than we'd really anticipated. The only thing that bothered me was how deep that ran. Here are the loyal Party people eager to go now, and from all segments of the Party. Everywhere we'd go, people would say, "I see folks here that haven't been out in a long time," or "Well, I never saw those two together," or "I didn't think so and so's daughter, who's the biggest Republican in the county, would be here supporting you." They didn't know that she was a Duke graduate [laughter] . But really, not surprised but constantly reassured that the crowds were better than we thought. They always responded and they always gave the impression that they could go get them. And they pretty much did.