on soft drinks, cigarettes, and gasoline. But neither got very far in later campaigns.
"I think [ Hunt's] been strengthened," said John A. Williams, the governor's budget officer. "He's advocated a program against tremendous odds and he's won. And people love a winner. He's a stronger man today than he was three months ago." "It won't help him," said Bert Bennett. "But it's a lot better that he won approval of the tax than lost it. That would have been worse. I don't think the gas tax will be as serious for Hunt as the food tax was for Sanford."
Helms's chief lieutenant Ellis said, "I don't see how it's a plus [for Hunt]." Some Hunt partisans, though, believed the Congressional Club opposition had helped consolidate Democratic support for the governor. "The appeal was that we need to prove to these people right now that we're going to stick together;" said one legislator.
Hunt himself said he considered it the toughest fight of his life, even tougher than the second-term campaign, and he probably saw the battle in the clearest perspective. "I'm going to have eight years in office," he said. "By the time I'm through, and there are many more things to do, I will be judged on all of them." Bob Scott echoed that theme and added, "One thing in Hunt's favor is that we live in a time of high interest rates with everything going up, and three cents a gallon may get lost in the shuffle."
Hunt's supporters were betting that would happen. Even as the campaign faded, some decided to respond to the Congressional Club's ad charging the Hunt administration with "cronyism." They printed up a batch of T-shirts bearing the words: "I'm one of Jim Hunt's cronies." They also obtained T-shirts for the governor and Mrs. Hunt with the words "No. 1 Crony" and "No. 1 Crony's Wife."
In September 1981 Hugh Morton, a public-spirited entrepreneur, asked Jesse Helms and Jim Hunt to help save the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The 110-year-old landmark on North Carolina's Outer Banks had been