Title: Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, December 16 and 18, 1986. Interview C-0038.
Interviewer: Glass, Brent
Interviewee: Sanford, Terry
Subjects: North Carolina--Politics and government Governors--North Carolina Duke University. President
Abstract: Terry Sanford, a Democratic politician who served as a state senator, governor, and U.S. senator in North Carolina and held the presidency at Duke University, reflects on his political career in this interview. He focuses on his goals for his upcoming Senate career, describing the positive campaign strategy that secured him a seat in the United States Senate in 1986. His emphasis on positivity complements his emphasis on unity, a trait he sought to restore to the Democratic Party with his incursions into national politics, including as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 1972 and 1976. Sanford leaves unsaid what precisely Democratic politicians could do to restore unity, however—a thorny question complicated by the fact that the Democrats' disarray in Sanford's North Carolina was likely due to the party's support for civil rights for African Americans. His focus on unity was complemented by what he describes as a positive television ad push that emphasized his record, and his determination not to court certain voting blocs for fear of antagonizing them. This interview offers an interesting look at the way a moderate southern Democrat gained political influence, and won over southern voters, in the increasingly conservative 1970s and 1980s.