Title: Oral History Interview with Jack Hawke, June 7, 1990. Interview C-0087.
Interviewer: Houghton, Jonathan
Interviewee: Hawke, Jack
Subjects: North Carolina--Politics and government Republican Party (N.C.)
Abstract: Jack Hawke served as the chair of the North Carolina Republican Party from 1987 to 1995. In this interview, he describes the evolution of the Republican Party in North Carolina from the early 1960s, when he first became involved in politics, through 1990, when the interview was conducted. Hawke begins by offering his assessment of Frank Rouse, who served as the state chair during the early 1970s. According to Hawke, because of Rouse's ability to boost membership and his innovative use of television for political purposes, he was the most effective chair of the party during the years under consideration. Hawke goes on to describe divisions within the Republican Party. Recalling the impact of Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential bid in drawing new membership for the party, Hawke describes how divisions between state leaders such as Jesse Helms, James Holshouser, and James Gardner especially shaped the party's development from 1964 through the 1980s. Hawke spends a great deal of time discussing Gardner's role within the party, focusing on both his limits as a leader and his successes in strengthening the party statewide. In addition, Hawke addresses the impact of the Watergate scandal, the role of the Congressional Club, and consequences of structural obstacles at the precinct level on the evolution of the party. Finally, Hawke discusses the state of the Republican Party in North Carolina in 1990, with midterm elections on the horizon, and forecasts the party's immediate future.