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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, February 4, 1998. Interview C-0336-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Relying on a political ally to cultivate a political network

Scott describes himself as something of a political outsider: he was a farmer, not a businessman, and a graduate of North Carolina State University, not a school that won him political connections. Therefore, when he was facing a second primary for the governorship, he had to rely on outgoing governor Dan K. Moore to create a network where none existed.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, February 4, 1998. Interview C-0336-1. 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

JACK FLEER:
Were there any groups or people or interests in the state that you felt you had to consult with or know the opinions of, in the process of your deciding to run for governor, that became important bases for you to touch, so to speak, to find out whether this was even a possibility?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Not consciously. Of course, as lieutenant governor, I was in contact with practically all the organizations and associations and groups. You know, I'd spoken before the teacher organizations—there was scarcely an organization I hadn't had some contact with. But it was more by the fact that I was lieutenant governor, I think, than anything else. I was never considered to be a part of the business community. I was an agrarian, a farmer if you will, a graduate of NC State, I was not going to move among the power brokers or the captains of industry—I just didn't move in those circles. I didn't belong to a country club or anything of that sort.
JACK FLEER:
And you didn't feel a need to get in touch with those people?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Didn't really know how, in a sense, because I really wasn't comfortable in that circle. I recall so well that after I'd run for governor and won the nomination, in the spring, Governor Moore—who had remained neutral in that, although most of his supporters and friends supported my opponent, he very, very carefully remained neutral—and he did invite me to his office one day after that, after the campaign, and said, "I want to do what I can to help you win the election in the fall."
JACK FLEER:
This was after the second primary.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
After the second primary. And he put on a couple of fundraisers. Back then—I'm amused at what's happening in Washington. He had them in the mansion, and he had the connections, having been an official with, ah…Champion—
JACK FLEER:
Champion Paper Company—
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
—Paper Company. And he had connections with big business. And he had some of those people in the mansion on a couple of occasions for fundraisers, which I attended, of course. So he knew that was probably where I was—the business community, perhaps because of my father, didn't trust me all that much. I wasn't one of them, and I didn't have a record of being pro-business. Not necessarily anti-business, but just not pro-business. And the company I kept, perhaps, politically, was a little suspect. Now, keep in mind, at this period of time, there was a great deal of civil unrest and tension and so on, and a lot of our thoughts were on those kinds of things.