The reasons why Nettles is a Republican
Nettles reveals that he ran as a Republican because the Democrats required a loyalty oath and Wallace dominated the Democratic Party in the state. He also felt very proud of having aided in the development of a two-party system in the state.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Bert Nettles, July 13, 1974. Interview A-0015. 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 BASS:
How did you get into the Republican party in Alabama? Why did you move
into the Republican party when you got politically active?
- BERT NETTLES:
Well, my law partner had asked me . . . my senior law partner suggested I
run against Pierre Pelham. I'd never really thought about it. I'd worked
very hard at practicing law. He, of course, thought I'd run as a
Democrat. This was again, you have to remember, right after the
Goldwater sweep in 1964, when people thought you could probably get
elected as a Republican. That the old tantamount theory had been thrown
out the window. I thought about it and I felt like I could not be happy
with them. The Democratic party was in complete turmoil. I was not a
Wallace-ite. Wallace completely dominated legislative politics in
Alabama. At that time he dominated the state committee. Bob Vance later
emerged to take that situation away from him. And I couldn't sign the
loyalty oath. I had voted for Goldwater in '64 though I had not been
active in the campaign. And I'd voted for some other Republicans. The
Democrats had a loyalty oath which they required of all candidates to
sign that they had, in the previous election, supported all the
Democratic nominees for office. And of course this was ignored by many,
but I just felt like I'd be more comfortable in the
Republican party. I never regretted that decision. It's been
interesting. I felt like I've possible made more contribution in
building the two party system . . . trying to do something toward
building the two party system. And I am . . . I feel more at home with
the majority of Republicans if you consider it on the national scene
than I would be with the majority of Democrats.