Helms and Hunt: The North Carolina Senate Race, 1984

By William D. Snider | Go to book overview

and its chief protagonist, declared: " Helms is not a handsome rascal nor is he charismatic in any ordinary way. But he does have strong convictions and the courage to defend them. He is a national figure for a number of reasons. He is stridently and inflexibly conservative, which makes him a minority in a minority. In other words he sticks out in a crowd and doesn't in the least mind the exposure. He is a winning politician."


15. A Family Spat

While Jesse Helms spent most of 1982 struggling in vain to enact his New Right social programs in Congress, Jim Hunt's organization back home began gearing up for the political battles of 1984.

Hunt's people were vastly encouraged by the outcome of the 1982 general elections. Helms's National Congressional Club had invested heavily in seven Tar Heel congressional campaigns. None succeeded. Bill Cobey, the GOP hopeful from Chapel Hill, spent more than five hundred thousand dollars trying to unseat Congressman Ike Andrews, damaged by a drunken driving conviction two weeks before the election. Instead of winning additional congressional seats the Tar Heel GOP lost two of its four incumbents.

The Helms camp blame dthe poor results on the nations' pocketbook nerve. The election was not a referendum on Jesse Helms, observed Tom Ellis. It was a referendum on unemployment and the Reagan administration's economic program.

Hunt agreed that the "Reagan recession" had been a plus factor, but he also thought the voters were concerned about negative GOP campaigning. Hunt's own lieutenants even then agonized over how hard-hitting Hunfs own campaigning should be as they struggled to build a fund-raising mechanism to offset Helms's formidable money machine. One newspaper noted that Hunt himself had indulged in a bit of negativism by accusing the Fifth District congressional candidate, Anne Bagnal, of "lying" in her contest against Congressman Steve Neal.

Former congressman Richardson Preyer, a cochairman of Hunt's upcoming campaign, answered somewhat tentatively when asked about the

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Helms and Hunt: The North Carolina Senate Race, 1984
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Prologue 3
  • Mr. Clean and the Fire Chief's Son 5
  • I. Patriarch and Upstart 7
  • 2. Salt of the Earth People 10
  • 2. Salt of the Earth People 18
  • 2. Salt of the Earth People 25
  • 5. Too Proud to Be Proud 31
  • Naysayer and Pragmatist 37
  • 6. the Lone Ranger 39
  • 7. a Touch of Camelot and Carter 43
  • 7. a Touch of Camelot and Carter 49
  • 10. a New Direction 58
  • Master Campaigner and Avenging Angel 63
  • Ii. Political Tarnish 65
  • 12. Catching Hand Grenades 70
  • 13. Against the Wind 78
  • 114. Helms at Bay 82
  • 114. Helms at Bay 91
  • 114. Helms at Bay 95
  • 17. That Old-Time Religion 104
  • Epochal Battle or Mud Fight? 111
  • 18. "I'Ll Carry It" 113
  • 19. "Helms Can't Win" 117
  • 20. the D'Aubuisson Connection 122
  • 21. the School of Hard Knox 128
  • 22. the Windsor Story 136
  • 23. When Helms Wasn't Helms 139
  • 24. Time Out for Party Time 146
  • 25. the Big Guns of August 150
  • The Helmsmen Ride High 157
  • 26. a Severe Identity Crisis 159
  • 27. the Reagan Tide 167
  • 28. "Macabre Wild Card" 179
  • 30. Search and Destroy 186
  • 31. a Dead Heat? 194
  • 31. a Dead Heat? 201
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