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Title: Oral History Interview with Jack Hawke, June 7, 1990. Interview C-0087. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Hawke, Jack, interviewee
Interview conducted by Houghton, Jonathan
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 120 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
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Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-02-16, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Jack Hawke, June 7, 1990. Interview C-0087. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0087)
Author: Jonathan Houghton
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Jack Hawke, June 7, 1990. Interview C-0087. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0087)
Author: Jack Hawke
Description: 117 Mb
Description: 38 p.
Note: Interview conducted on June 7, 1990, by Jonathan Houghton; recorded in Unknown.
Note: Transcribed by Jovita Flynn.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series C. Notable North Carolinians, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Jack Hawke, June 7, 1990.
Interview C-0087. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Hawke, Jack, interviewee


Interview Participants

    JACK HAWKE, interviewee
    JONATHAN HOUGHTON, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
This is an interview on June 8, 1990 with Jack Hawke, present chairman of the state Republican Party in North Carolina. Jack, could you tell me some of the changes taking place when Bill Cobb was chairman of the party from 1958 to 1962?
JACK HAWKE:
Well, I'm sorry, but my real knowledge comes into play about 1963 right after Cobb stepped down. I arrived on the scene during Bob Gavin's second campaign for governor and in the aftermath of Bill Cobb having stepped down. He was still, even with the scandal surrounding his departure, very much loved within the ranks of the Republican Party.1 I think it was 1966, somewhere around there, he reemerged and came back to his first state convention after having stepped down as chairman, and when he walked down the convention floor, the delegates all rose to their feet and gave him a standing ovation.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Did they really?
JACK HAWKE:
So even that many years and having left, I guess we'd say, in disgrace, he was that well liked and respected for the job that he'd done with the party, that's the kind of response he got. So I only knew him in his later years and knew him in the late '60s when he was working with Jack Stickley, and really didn't know him when he was state chairman. Sorry I didn't. I would have liked to have been around during those times.

Page 2
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Some of the stories you were talking about, some of the precinct building techniques, he used television cameras and canvasing.
JACK HAWKE:
No, I'm sorry, that was Frank Rouse.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Oh, that was Frank Rouse?
JACK HAWKE:
That was Frank Rouse in the early '70s. Frank was probably our first really full-time state chairman. He just took a leave of absence from his business, and Frank's motto was total commitment, and he gave it total commitment to the extent that he ended up with his business going bankrupt and having some real personal, even eventually personally declared bankruptcy. But he was a total commitment to the party when he was chairman. He started the first real staff at a state headquarters. He put in a T.V. room where he had a camera, and he'd bring candidates in and let them practice and train and do films for them. In those days, you could get away with having your own camera and doing a news statement and sending it to the T.V. stations and they'd use it. Today, you can't get away with that. That ended in the early '70s. In the '60s we used to do that too. So that way you could say what you wanted to and send it to the news department and it would get on the air unedited the way you wanted to say. Frank did things like that. He probably started our first state newspaper that went statewide. He was very strong in organization. Frank's weakness as chairman was that he had foot and mouth disease, and he often said things that got him into a lot of trouble. In the middle of his term as chairman there was our first real primary for governor with Holshouser and Gardner,

Page 3
and it was in the run-off, I guess, Frank stepped down as chairman to endorse Gardner, and then, of course, Holshouser won and determined that he was going to get rid of Frank Rouse. So we had one of the most bitter conventions I can remember that year when Tom Bennett ran against Frank Rouse. But Frank was an innovator. He was probably the best state chairman that I've seen that we've had in all these years, and I didn't know Bill Cobb. So if you exclude Bill Cobb, Frank was, at least in my opinion, probably the best we've had in the last twenty-five years.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
And he was from the east wasn't he?
JACK HAWKE:
He sure was. At that time he lived in Kinston. He's now down at Emerald Isle.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
So did he bring a greater number of easterners into the party?
JACK HAWKE:
Well, when I got started in the party, and I suppose it went on from time in the beginning, there was a division between east and west. A lot of people called it conservativeliberal. It became in the early days, Holshouser-Gardner and then became Holshouser-Helms split. It really was more geographic in that the Holshouser wing of the party, if you will, came from the mountains where we traditionally won, where we had local office holders that were Republicans from birth. The Gardner wing of the party came from a little more eastern part of the state and some of the Piedmont in those days, which were Democrats who had turned Republicans, and a lot of them came because of Barry Goldwater. That was the first real division.

Page 4
The Gardner beginning in politics, very definitely he was the conservative wing of the party, and when he lost in '72, well, when he was a Congressman in '66, I'll back up, we started an organization called the Congressional Club.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Oh, that started in '66 with Gardner?
JACK HAWKE:
Gardner had one while he was a Congressman called the Congressional Club, and I think it was the first time it had been done in North Carolina. We raised money while he was a congressman because he was a very active congressman. We sent out newsletters monthly. Instead of doing it as they do now with government printing and everything, we printed them at our expense, and wrote all over the bottom, "Not paid for with government funds." And he had a district office in every county of the district. So we paid for that with funds that we raised through the Congressional Club. And he traveled a lot. He planned to run for governor, or did run for governor. We paid for all that through the Congressional Club. So when he got out of politics in '72, he turned all those files and all his contributors list over to the Helms organization. And I don't know whether anybody still admits it or not, but there was really how they got their Congressional Club started.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Because it started off in '73 to polish off some of his campaign debts.
JACK HAWKE:
That was the original point of it, but they also started out to pay some of Helms travel expenses and things that were involved in being a senator. So I really think it was an

Page 5
outgrowth of what we did in '66. I digressed there. Where were we?
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
We were talking about the Holshouser-Gardner, Holshouser-Helms division within the party, which you were saying is primary geographic.
JACK HAWKE:
That's my opinion.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Do you think there's an ideological focus to it as well.
JACK HAWKE:
Well, you sit Jim Holshouser and Jim Gardner down in a room, and they sit there right now and they say they can't remember where they disagreed philosophically. They were two young guys, moving up in the party, on a collision course, one from the east and one from the west. And that will be the explanation they'll give you today. It was often talked of as a philosophical difference, but I'm not sure there was that great a difference. I mean, Charlie Jonas's voting record was about as conservative as you'll ever get.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
ACA gave him 95%. But still there's a difference in that Gardner endorsed Wallace whereas Holshouser went for Nixon.
JACK HAWKE:
No, he didn't. Gardner endorsed Reagan.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
He did endorse Reagan, but then when Reagan lost the nomination, he spoke highly of Wallace. And the Nixon folks took it as sort of a departure from the party.
JACK HAWKE:
Remember that Jim Gardner ran ahead of Richard Nixon in North Carolina. As we have won governor's offices in this state, we have carried our candidates in on tails of a candidate for president that's been winning the state. I would guess if

Page 6
you go back pretty far in history, Gardner may be the only one that ran ahead of the candidate for president on the Republican ticket.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
That's true.
JACK HAWKE:
So there were some political dynamics that year.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Oh, he picked up the Wallace voters.
JACK HAWKE:
That meant he had to make some moves in order to get elected governor. Now, I truly believe Jim Gardner lost that race. Bob Scott didn't beat him; Jim lost it because of mistakes he made. But I'm not sure the wallace connection was one of the mistakes, because you had to do that in that year because he—what did Wallace run? Second in state or did he run first? He may have run first.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Wallace ran second. Nixon ran first, the first time a Republican won the state. Wallace ran second, and fascinatingly Humphrey ran third. The Democratic candidate ran third. It was the first time Republicans cracked the state since '28.
JACK HAWKE:
Gardner, in my opinion, could have won that race, but Jim's got the same problem I mentioned with Frank Rouse before. He, in those days, was an extremely charismatic figure. Could just attract crowds. Would walk into a room and everybody would turn. He just had an aura about him that attracted people. But I remember, I think two occasions really cracked his golden armour. One was when he went to the national convention and endorsed Reagan over Nixon. Today everybody looks back on that and says fondly how smart Gardner was to be ahead of his time. But at that time Nixon had the nomination wrapped up in most

Page 7
people's eyes, and Gardner just was stupid to go down and go the other way. I was at that convention. There were a lot of dynamics there too. There's one or two things that had fallen in place. Nixon had been stopped on the first ballot.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Cliff white says that Reagan came within a whisker of winning but for an unfortunate twist or two.
JACK HAWKE:
I'll tell you what saved Nixon. Strom Thurmond saved him.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Strom Thurmond made a deal.
JACK HAWKE:
I sat there and watched him do it. Strom Thurmond saved Nixon. But anyhow, that cracked his armour a little bit. He was no longer the golden boy that everything he touched went right, from Hardee's to being state chairman to running for Congress. Then he had a couple of things, like he—I don't even remember what the topic was. It was probably something to do with tobacco. But he made a statement in Charlotte. Got on an airplane and flew to eastern North Carolina and made exactly the opposite statement. And those kinds of things caught up with him. And that's why I say he lost it rather Bob Scott winning. Scott just kept plodding along, making no mistakes, and Gardner started making mistakes, or we would have had our first governor in '68.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Well, it was close. It was very close.
JACK HAWKE:
In '72—I'm sure you've studied this a whole lot better than I have—a historical thing that most people have missed, though I think it's fascinating, Gardner was just a few votes short of winning the first primary. There were a couple of

Page 8
minor candidates, I'll say, in there who pulled enough votes that he didn't get 50%, and Holshouser called for a run-off. Gardner again made a mistake. He was fed up with all the work he'd put in and so on, and he went on a two week vacation. While he was gone, Holshouser flew all over the state, landing at every airport, thanking people for his tremendous victory, and so on, and by the time Gardner got back, anybody thought Holshouser had been ahead and Gardner was the one who called the run-off. [laughter] For Holshouser I thought it was a brilliant strategy, but he turned that whole thing right around. And to this day, most people who weren't active in it will think back and say, "Well sure, Holshouser won the first primary," and he didn't. So Gardner was just a few votes short on that. I've been reminiscing a little bit, as people have been calling on this 40% rule and saying, does it affect the Republicans? Well, there's one time it very definitely would have, and it led to our first governor. But that division, I think, was mostly geographical. It had a philosophical basis to it, yes. It had a basis in terms of really built around the start of the Goldwater thing, I think. People who had become Republicans to support Goldwater.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Did Goldwater bring a lot of former Democrats into the party on a more permanent basis? As you were saying the Republicans in the '60s started to have more meaningful primaries, something that had never typified the state before. So Goldwater, with an ideological intensity, completely repudiating the Democratic New Deal, completely going against the

Page 9
Republican "me too" style of candidacy, was thought to generate a good deal of appeal. In actuality he brought in fewer votes than Nixon had attracted in 1960. But as far as building the party, did he bring in people…
JACK HAWKE:
My impression is that he brought in a whole group of young activist Republicans that became committed and involved during that period of time. And that was really the heart that built the party through '72. It was also part of the group that was hit hard by Watergate because they had a vision that a Republican would really make a difference. That we were just that much better than the Democrats. That we really would change the world. That we really would be more honest. That we really would accomplish more. Why do you keep losing and keep getting your brains beat in but coming back year after year, working the way that group did? And a lot of them did, and in '74 when the roof fell in on Watergate, most of those people that I always used to see that we depended on were gone. And it took five or six years for them ever to get their interest back in politics, and that was a period of time when young people were not coming to the Republican Party. We had a period in there which was real hard and no growth really, I'd say. The only thing that held it together was Helms and the Congressional Club. In fact, the party headquarters and the state chairman of the party itself became almost nonexistent in terms—the real power was over in the Congressional Club of everything that happened. But I think that's what Goldwater attracted to the party. What he brought to the party was a whole group of younger, dedicated people who

Page 10
really stuck with it, Gardner being one of them. That's what attracted Gardner to the party. The whole leadership that was in this area when I first became involved really were Goldwaters. Now he didn't bring the vote. One of the reasons Gardner lost in '64 was he put up billboards all over this district that said, "Goldwater needs Gardner in Congress." I was a young, what twenty-one, twenty-two year old Yankee, who nobody would listen to, but I was the only one who was advising him, "Don't do that because you're going to run ahead of Goldwater," which is really what made my friendship in the early years start to bloom with Gardner. That and a couple of other things where I was lucky enough to be right. Those people truly believed that voters were going to come out of the woodwork to vote for Barry Goldwater.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Well, that had been a myth for forty years.
JACK HAWKE:
Absolutely believed it. There was no question. It didn't matter what the polls said. It didn't matter what your door-to-door canvases said. People were going to come out of the woodwork to vote for Barry Goldwater, and it just didn't happen. But it did bring a real activist group into our party, and I think that probably was the start of the philosophical differences. There weren't many Rockefeller people in the state but there were a lot of traditional Republicans in this state, who, I think, probably resented this new group coming in and wanting to take over. They'd been winning elections for years. Up until 1965 the state headquarters was in Charlotte. There was an office and a state headquarters when I went to work for the party in '63. Herman Saxon was chairman. The office was in

Page 11
downtown Charlotte. There was an executive director. So they were that far along. Then when Gardner got elected in '65, he moved it to Raleigh and it's been here ever since. But the whole focus was the western part of the state where we had won, and where we had some Republican strength, really dating all the way back to the Civil War. As they say, the War of Northern Aggression. [Laughter] But I think it was geographical, and it was some of the new kids on the block that were attracted by Goldwater that became philosophical differences, so they said.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Well, at least, if not philosophical, a question of intensity, I think.
JACK HAWKE:
Probably, yes. Your people in the west would support a Republican because he was a Republican. The people that I would say were the Goldwater or eastern, didn't feel that way. They'd been Democrats, and they didn't feel you supported Republican just because he had an "R" after his name. He had to be better, and by better that sometimes meant philosophically more intense.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Some observer noted that a number of the Goldwater converts were members of the John Birch Society and felt they had a divisive influence. Did you note that, or do you think there was any…
JACK HAWKE:
I'm, I think, somewhat naive about that. I always wondered how many of them were John Birchers. [laughter]
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
There were never hard numbers and it was a secret organization.

Page 12
JACK HAWKE:
And I used to think that person's got to be a Bircher but, you know, I never knew it [Laughter] for a fact. I don't know whether there was an influence there or not. I think there was an active Birch Society in Rocky Mount, which is where Gardner came from, but I don't think Gardner was ever a part of it. I think there was an active Birch Society in the Raleigh area. But, you know, I don't know of any overlapping there. I'm sure there was. I'm sure there was some Klan involvement too, but again it wasn't overt, and I wasn't aware that's what was going on if it was. And like I said, maybe I was too young and too naive.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
So they weren't disrupting precinct meetings or taking the party in a new direction that was rankling the old, more established leaders, or anything along those lines?
JACK HAWKE:
Not that I saw. Now, I'll give you just a real quick background. I came here having graduated from college in New Jersey. And I had been state college chairman in New Jersey, very close to the state chairman up there. I went to a state meeting that we had called. Had a little warning that there was a problem coming up. And the Goldwater people stood up in the middle of the meeting—I hadn't endorsed anybody for president or said who was going to be for or against. But since I hadn't endorsed Goldwater, this movement that in New Jersey was called the Ratfinks stood up and moved for the impeachment of the chairman so they could take over at the college level. Then they were going for the Young Republicans and then to the state chairman. I ended up beating them, but I didn't see any of that

Page 13
going on here. Now, it may have been, but I came out of a situation where it was cut-throat, and I didn't see that going on here. So I'm not completely naive and think that things didn't go on, because it went on tough and I was in the middle of part of it. But I didn't see that kind of stuff going on here.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Like Steven Shaddock, a Republican philosopher, had read Mao and Lenin and was using tactics of takeover techniques that way, stocking meeting and…
JACK HAWKE:
Well, I'll tell you, Barry Goldwater did that. He took over the party from the precinct up. They had a very definite plan. In those days in North Carolina you could have taken over this party if you could turn out three people in a precinct meeting. And that's what they did throughout the country. How he really took over. New Jersey was a lot further along in Republican developments than North Carolina, but they very systematically did it there. I just happened to be the next down the list. And it wasn't even that you were for somebody else. If you weren't a 100% for them, then you were suspect.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
That's like Charles Jonas, the Congressman, and Broyhill were booed at the [North Carolina Republican] convention because they refused to have the delegates at large endorse Goldwater before the convention, and the state party here booed them, much to their surprise.
JACK HAWKE:
And the other real bad national convention with people jumping all over, was '76, and Jim Holshouser was denied a seat as a delegate, as was a young Congressman by the name of Jim Martin.

Page 14
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Denied by the Helms faction who controlled patronage.
JACK HAWKE:
Who has never forgotten it. [laughter]. He doesn't mention it much but it is a sore spot in his memory. That when you really sit down with the tie off and reminisce and so on, it is something that he will often bring up—being a Congressman and being denied a delegate slot.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
But that had to hurt the party.
JACK HAWKE:
That hurt the party bad.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Because a governor and a Congressman cannot attend their convention, and there was a time when it seemed the Congressional Club was more interested in possibly forming a third party. In fact, Helms had explored the formation of a conservative third party in the early '70s and it didn't materialize. But some would look at the Congressional Club as being almost de facto the third party.
JACK HAWKE:
We were on a course where we were making mistakes on both sides. Jim Holshouser's desire to defeat Frank Rouse was not politically astute, and I think Jim Holshouser is a very astute person. But there almost developed a hatred there, and they were going to defeat Rouse no matter what. That convention really tore us apart badly. Frank had been a good chairman, and he had friends all over the state. He was the type guy that even though he might make a public statement that sounded terrible, he was all over. He knew people by their first names, had a lot of friends, had done an awful lot. For instance, my congressional race went into a court case because we lost by 900 votes.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
This is 1972?

Page 15
JACK HAWKE:
'72, and Frank said, "You're going to go to court, and we'll finance it through state headquarters." Because I said, "No, the election's over. Let's let it drop." Frank did things like that for people all over the state, and when a sitting governor opposed him, Frank came close to almost beating him, all by himself. He didn't have Club support. That was pre-Club. He was all alone with all the power of state government against him, and he stood up to them and came close to beating them. That was the first really kind of bitter—Frank has memories of it being a huge convention. But I know there were over 2,000 people there. Now, he'll tell you there were 7,000. It don't think there were, but it was an extremely well attended convention. It was packed. It was a close vote, and the governor had turned out every one of his appointees and everybody that was in government to vote on his side. So that was a very divisive thing, followed by Watergate which tore us apart, followed by these people who had been working in the Republican Party kind of taking a walk and saying, you know, everything I believed in isn't true to a degree. And the only act left in town was the Club. The Party was on its back. It couldn't raise any money. And I think probably political survival had Helms and people like John East saying, "How do we keep a more conservative voice alive if the Republican Party's dead." And it almost was in this state. And I think that's when they started exploring, can we have a conservative party or third party? I don't think it ever got off the ground, but there was very definitely a long time in there where the Club, in essence, was the party. They

Page 16
would choose congressional candidates, the whole thing. Changed with Jim Martin. Martin came along and really brought it back. And today with close to a million registered Republicans, it's an entirely different story. Today you could win a state, well, you could argue you could win a statewide election just by turning out Republicans if you got enough of them to vote. Though that's much different than it used to be.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Yeah, with 10% turnout, I mean, 10% Republican registration in the state in 1959.
JACK HAWKE:
So that the Helms organization today is much different. They're working very close with the state party. We had a fight when I ran for chairman.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Right, they opposed you.
JACK HAWKE:
Which was more philosophical in nature, I guess.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
You think it was? What was the philosophical difference that led the Club to oppose you?
JACK HAWKE:
Well, I say philosophical. It was almost like the situation I had when I was a college kid. I wasn't a 100% so, you know, I was suspect.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
What were the suspect areas that made you less pure or just different?
JACK HAWKE:
They tried to make it because I wanted to talk about building a Republican Party and attracting candidates and doing a grassroots organization and had been part of the Martin administration, so talk about state issues. That that meant that I wasn't pure. Fighting communism, on abortion, on prayer in school, on all those things that were issues in those days. And

Page 17
the guy they got to run against me was president of a bible college. In fact, his Ph.D. was in public speaking. He was a tremendous speaker. They thought they had the guy that could debate those issues and turn the troops on in terms on the emotional issues and beat us that way. From that reason I say it was philosophical. I think underlying it was their concern of what was going to happen. They'd just gone through the Broyhill primary.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Where they offered up Funderburke and he lost to Broyhill and then Broyhill lost to Sanford. So a lot of blood.
JACK HAWKE:
Yeah, I think their primary concern has always been U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Well, is that how they think they're going to turn the state Republican, by focusing on national issues, where there's a greater difference between Democrats and Republicans, than on state issues. So they down play grassroot precinct level tasks, thinking that it would bring the troops out of the woodwork by focusing on a bit more traditional issues, is that it?
JACK HAWKE:
Yeah, I think the Club truly believes that you motivate people to vote on emotional issues and they don't believe in grassroots organization. That's my observation. And they do it through T.V. ads, and they've been very successful with it.
You know, they ran old John East who was a great guy, tremendous individual, but nobody ever dreamed he could be U.S. senator.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Right, against Morgan.

Page 18
JACK HAWKE:
And they ran the Panama Canal right up I-85. Everybody thought it was in our backyard.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
[Laughter]
JACK HAWKE:
Before it was over. And did it purely on T.V. That was not a turn-out-the-vote effort. What I always caution people though is that those great victories that the Club had always came in years when there was a Republican trend nationwide. If you'll remember in that year when John East was elected, we picked up Republicans all over the place.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
That was 1980 with Ronald Reagan's first election and Carter.
JACK HAWKE:
That's right. And six years later we lost a good deal of those, including Broyhill. So I've always contended national trends have more to do with it than whether it's a Club-run candidate or not. Jesse's big off-year victory, 1978, that everybody talks about—Jimmy Carter was in the White House. It was in the middle of his term when the party out of power always picks up seats.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Also the financing was—Helms had 7 million dollars and Ingram had a quarter of a million dollars.
JACK HAWKE:
Well, I still, yeah, there's a difference there, but I'll tell you, it's a whole lot different running this year when we have the White House than it was when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and everybody was mad at him.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
So it's going to be more difficult this year.
JACK HAWKE:
It's going to be more difficult.

Page 19
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
I sense you're a little apprehensive, maybe, about the '90 race with the new candidate of two days determined, Harvey Gantt, facing off against Jesse Helms. You think there will be a new type of strategy in this campaign, a new emphasis?
JACK HAWKE:
Be a whole different kind of race. Our growth in recent years has been in metropolitan areas, suburban areas, where Gantt has strength, if he has strength, is in metropolitan areas. Where Helms has traditionally done a little better than the average Republican candidate has been in rural areas. So we may see a victory this time based on a little different voter dynamic than we have in the past. Because I would expect that Gantt will make in-roads into the metropolitan areas, and Helms will make even deeper in-roads into some of the rural areas. You'll have a real—we're lucky because you'll have a real division on issues which can keep it from becoming a question of race. You know, they can argue over death penalty. They can argue over taxes. They can argue over what's going to happen with the peace dividend. They can argue over all kinds of things like that, and it never has to be a race question. But those issues will tend to motivate the rural people more, I think, and the race issue will be there. If Helms is smart, he'll never mention it but it'll be there. And that will help him in rural areas, and it will help Gantt in metropolitan areas.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
So the old urban-rural split is how you…
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

Page 20
JACK HAWKE:
The problem I see is also a historical one, that Republicans lose—that party out-of-office loses. But in this state in recent years Republican turnout has been very bad in off-year elections. Did a little study in the fourth district and compared Martin-Jordan to Broyhill-Sanford. The drop-off from Jordan to Sanford was like 14,000 votes. The drop off from Martin to Broyhill was 69,000 votes in this one congressional district. People just didn't vote.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Are those mostly registered Republicans or the Democrats who crossed party lines?
JACK HAWKE:
I did not check their registration, but they're people who voted for Martin who didn't vote. So they showed an inclination to vote Republican. The other problem we have in off-years is a lot of our growth in recent years has come from young folks. 18 to 24, 18-28 year olds are choosing Republicans three to one over Democrats. In fact, a whole lot of Chapel Hill said they'd take Independent second. But those young voters don't vote in off-year elections. They vote in presidential years.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Right.
JACK HAWKE:
And my guess is that Jesse Helms will not excite them to vote in an off-year this time. So I think that we have potential problems there. The age group that we get the strongest support from is the age group that tends to vote primarily in presidential years. So I think that's a problem for us. Off-setting it, we have the highest number of candidates

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we've ever had. We probably have the best qualified candidates we've ever had. We have a governor who is still, although not as popular as he has been, still popular enough to attract crowds and attention and money. A lieutenant governor that has some ability to excite crowds and attract folks, who is popular. A president who's extremely popular, and a senator who is going to raise enough money, well enough financed and well enough run campaign that's he's going to win. So I'm worried about it, yeah, but I think we're going to win. And I've been way out on a limb. I should be protecting my own rear end and say, "Gee, if we only lose a few seats in the legislature, we've had a great victory," which is what we always have said in the past. But I think we're going to pick up seats in the legislature. I think it's going to be a good year for us, even with all the historical trends. I think Gantt helps us along that road because I think, quite frankly, Easley ran a general election campaign in the primaries. Didn't work in the primary, but his whole campaign strategy in the general election would have been tough to run against.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
So Jesse Helms ran a good number of radio ads, more of them against Easley than Gantt from what I can tell from the newspapers, by my own hearing on the radio. In fact, there was an anti-Easley ad after the primary polls shut down at 8:00 Tuesday night. Do you think Helms preferred Easley and that's why he ran against him, or do you think he preferred to run against Gantt? How do you think he sized it up?

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JACK HAWKE:
I think there were a lot of dynamics going in there, too. I think that the old Hunt-Helms feud has not died to this day, and they just really don't like each other. And I think that the Helms people truly believe that the Hunt machine was behind Easley, and they wanted to send Hunt a message, number one. Number two, it's much easier for them to have philosophical differences that they have with Harvey Gantt, than to run against a guy that was for abortions but not really, that was against taxes but not really. That raised a lot of money from the arts community because of Helms amendment but then endorsed the amendment. [Laughter] It's kind of hard to run against that. Whereas, the guy that says I'm against the Helms Amendment on the Arts. I'm against capital punishment. I want abortion on demand for sex selection and whatever. That's easy to run against. So I think there was a desire. There would have been on my part, to run against Gantt.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
The clearest, yeah.
JACK HAWKE:
The clearest division you could have. There's always been a debate, maybe just within political junkies, as to whether the Jessiecrats chose John Ingram in 1978 because they thought he was more beatable than Luther Hodges, Jr., and that debate goes on to this day. I don't think in the future they'll debate the fact that the Jessiecrats [Laughter] in the club had a real impact on the Democratic primary.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
So you think Jesse's supporters turned out at the polls at the Democrat primary, voting for Harvey Gantt.

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JACK HAWKE:
I think so. I think they sent a loud and clear message, and the folks got it. In the polls that I saw, old Easley was going up. And it's amazing to me that as likely as he was, that he fell so quick, because that was not a hard hit. But his momentum just stopped when those ads went on the radio. It's interesting, real interesting.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Yeah, that is interesting.
JACK HAWKE:
I think the Club, I'm speaking for them and probably shouldn't, I think that they had drawn the conclusion that Easley was going to win, and they just didn't want to let him come out of the primary a golden boy with 60% approval rating when the primary was over and the party unified and so on. They wanted to get some knocks in early so he didn't come out in quite as good shape. I think the success of their strategy even surprised them.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Yeah, well, it'll certainly be an interesting campaign. I think it's tough to predict because there's just too many variables in it this year.
JACK HAWKE:
And you can't poll it. You will not be able to poll it. You can take all your polls and throw them out the window. People are not, when George Wallace ran, nobody was going to vote for George Wallace in the polls but he carried, you know, came in ahead of Humphrey.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
With Wilder running people wouldn't say in the polls that they weren't going to vote against him, and then they did.
JACK HAWKE:
Again, a little digression, but Lee Atwater called the day before that vote and said, "We're going to lose." It was

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a conference call to southern chairman. Said, "We're going to lose Virginia." And I said, "How many points are we down in the polls?" And he said, "Ten." And I said, "Well, that's too bad. It's going to be close, isn't it?" He said, "We're ten points down." I said, "You've got eight points out of that of people who have lied about who they're going to vote for." [Laughter] And darn it all, he called me the next day and said, "You know, you were right." [Laughter] But you're going to see the same thing here. People aren't going to tell you the truth. So you won't even be able to poll it, I don't think.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Plus, for an off-year, like you say, the turnout question is the biggest question of all.
JACK HAWKE:
My guess is the Democratic Party and Harvey Gantt will register 200,000 people between now and election day, and that will be their secret margin of victory. That's my guess. We'll see if that comes true. Who knows?
Let me back up because you're doing a historical thing and just talk about the party at the time that I love. Jim Gardner has not, in my opinion, been given the credit for the growth of the party that he really created. Even with Gavin on the scene and Cobb, they were western oriented. They were traditional Republican oriented. You know, Cobb even lived over in the western part of the state. Gardner was the first one who came out of the eastern part of the state, and his race against Harold Cooley was a classic off-year election in that it was grassroots up. It was ID voters and turn them out, and it was also probably the first real good use of T.V. advertising in this part of the state and maybe the first

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round of negative advertising. Cooley and Gardner had a debate at N.C. State, and we taped the whole thing. Scared to death that Gardner was going to get killed in the debate because he was a business man who didn't have a lot of public speaking experience and so on. Cooley was a thirty-two year veteran congressman, chairman of the Agricultural Committee, a trial lawyer before that, and we thought he was going to chew us up. Gardner just chewed him up and spit him out in little pieces. So we took that tape and we cut it up to turn out thirty second spots, showing Cooley looking really dumb and Gardner looking brilliant. And Cooley screamed foul, that that was misrepresentation and filed suit with the FEA or whatever there was at that time, probably Communications Commission, I don't know. But he filed suit against the T.V. stations, that we were running these misleading ads. In those days they taped these things on film instead of on the nice little cassettes, and we had cut up the only film we had [Laughter] , like a bunch of idiots. So we didn't have the whole debate. Our argument was, my gosh, if we could put on the debate, he even looks worse. Where can we get the film? Well, Cooley's mistake was he filed suit against RAL, because we had done the editing out there. We'd rented their room and done the editing there. So he filed suit against RAL. RAL went to NBC or whoever it was that had come down, whoever they were affiliated with then, had also come down and filmed the debate because it was national news, the chairman of the Agriculture Committee and so on. The day before the election, RAL got the tape released from national and showed

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it free that night on television [Laughter] , and the debate made the old man look even worse than we had in the ads.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Wow, I didn't know that.
JACK HAWKE:
And we ended up getting 58% of the vote. So it was a great race. Gardner ran in '64 and came close and lost. In '65 the state party, like I said, was on its back. The people didn't come out of the woodwork to vote for Goldwater. We were probably $200,000 in debt. The chairman stepped down and said, "I've had enough. I quit." And Gardner ran for chairman, and most of his political advisors said, "Don't do it. You're taking over a debt." He took over the party and really travelled the state for about a year, pumping life back into everybody. He was a real dynamic, exacting speaker. And he just went all over giving everybody pep talks and stepped out of office with the debt paid off and party back on its feet.
Runs for Congress, wins this race. We took a poll at the end of his first year in Congress because the Republican Congressional Committee in Washington wanted to convince him to run for reelection. We ran everybody against him we could come up with from Bob Scott to Jesse Helms to Bill Friday. Every name we could come up with, we ran against him, Nick Galafanakis. And he was wiping out everybody. He was doing what we are criticizing congressmen for doing now—all the frank mail, but it was being paid for by the committee. Everybody that got married got a bride's book and a letter from the congressman. Every school got flags. Everybody got agricultural yearbooks. Tapes to schools about how you write to Congressman. If your picture

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appeared in the paper, we'd cut it out and put it on a sheet of paper and we'd write across the bottom, "Been reading about you in the paper. Thought you'd like to have this. Congressman Gardner."
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Those are old Jonas tactics, aren't they? That's what he did.
JACK HAWKE:
Yeah. And we went one step further. We formed a little, in those days you didn't have computers. We had those old NPSP typewriters that typed letters, and they were slow. But we formed a coalition of four other young congressmen, and all pooled our NPSP type things. One congressman gave the room. Everybody gave their machines. Each of us gave a staff member, and we sat up our own mail room. If you wrote in on gun control, we from the office would answer the letter, and then we'd send it upstairs and say, "File it." Anytime something happened on gun control, committee meeting, a vote, anything, you'd get another letter on it. And all we had to do was write one letter, ship it upstairs, and a thousand would go out.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
What a network.
JACK HAWKE:
It was pre-computerization. The congressmen in that coalition, let me just mention, were George Bush, Jim Gardner, Bill Brock, who was later Secretary of Labor, and another congressman from Texas by the name of Price, I think it was Bob Price. It's just kind of interesting that those guys got together in 1966. Gardner then ran for governor in '68 when, you know, Gavin had made a great race but we'd been blown away in '64. And he should have won in '68. He really made people, for

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the first time, honestly believe a Republican could get elected. So I just think he did more for the building of the party during that period of time than a lot of people give him credit for. Probably was his own worse enemy, came back in '72 and really lost that primary of his own accord. But here he is now back again all these many years later. I just think that period of the '60s to the early '70s were very key to what happened to us in '72. And Gardner was at the forefront of it. Broyhill was a great congressman. Charles Jonas was a great congressman, but they didn't leave their congressional districts. Gardner, on the other hand, traveled the state. I mean, he went everywhere Republicans wanted to have a meeting. And really, it brought life and blood into the party and an enthusiasm. Jim Broyhill was a great congressman but the last thing in the world you'd say is that he's exciting. He's about as exciting as watching paint dry. [Laughter] And, you know, Gardner brought that excitement and that charisma to it, and I think really made a big difference.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Well, he was criticized in the newspapers for being more concerned with the future gubernatorial race than being a good congressman. And, if that was so, it certainly does prove your point that he was very good for the party. He did a lot for party growth.
JACK HAWKE:
Jim did not like being a congressman, perfectly honestly. He did not like Washington. He did not like the slow pace. He didn't like all of the debates that never led to anything. The votes that kept being put off. The man had

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started a hamburger stand that grew into Hardee's hamburger company [Laughter] . He was á young guy on the go, and the pace and the just sitting around meeting on things drove him crazy. He didn't like it. Besides, his life goal from the day I met him was to be governor. Wasn't necessarily '68, but it was to be governor. Once he decided to run for governor, his attendance record really stunk. Now, we, as a staff, really covered for him for a long time, but you can't cover the not being there for recorded votes. But all this stuff, with all the mailings and all the newsletters kept going out the whole time. So it was a long time before the constituents realized that he wasn't as active a congressman as they would have liked. He will defend it today by saying that once he announced for governor, he had to be on the road and had to be campaigning. But he was not what one would call an attentive congressman like Charlie Jonas or Jim Broyhill. That's an honest appraisal.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
His attendance record wasn't due to laziness but due to a different priority that he was working and accomplishing.
JACK HAWKE:
Consequently, our goals for the first year in office when he was lieutenant governor was you will be at the start of the session everyday. You will bring the gavel down at the beginning of the session everyday. You will walk the halls and talk to people in between sessions. You will be low-key. You will not be combative. You will be a nice guy in the halls of the legislature. Always available to a reporter, always available to go to a meeting, and that's what he did for a year

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and a half. And the attempt is to outlive this twenty-some-year legacy of such an absentee record in Congress.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Just shifting the subject once more, I was wondering if you could talk about some of structural impediments to the party's growth, some of the gerrymandering, some of the ballot frauds, some of the Democratic stacking of local committees, election boards, that worked against the growth of the Republican Party for a good number of years.
JACK HAWKE:
I'll give you one that's going to happen to me next week. I'll get a check from the state for North Carolina check-off funds, which is on your income tax, that little box that you want to contribute to the party. Originally that thing said, "Do you want to contribute to political parties? Check Republican or Democrat. The problem was too many people checked Republican. So the legislature came back to town and changed the law. The law now is that you just check the box you want to contribute, and then it's distributed based on registration. So when I get $50,000 next week, the Democrats will get $125,000. When I got $300 and some thousand in the presidential year, they got close to a million. So we start right there not on an equal footing.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
When did the legislature change that law making it based on party registration, instead of the check on the box?
JACK HAWKE:
I called, I don't know whether it was the Board of Elections or the Treasurer's Office or who, and asked that very question. You might want to call and ask them. The answer I got was I don't remember what year it was but if you come down and look at the records, you can see it right off because it's the

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year that the Republican contribution went down [Laughter] so drastically. They admitted it when I called and asked. So there's a law that affects us very definitely. The statewide election of judges that serve districts affects us very definitely. We have not reached the point in statewide elections where we can run a lot of candidates for those offices, or where we can win. People go back home unless there's some reason to vote Republican. In the early days when I registered Republican, I was told, "You know, you can't vote if you register Republican." And people got away with saying those things. Now, the explanation was, "Well, you can't vote in the primary, and that's where elections are really won or lost in this state." But the comment was, "You can't vote if you register Republican." They did refine it after a couple of years to you can't vote in a primary if you become a Republican. Well, that wasn't true either. You could vote in a Republican primary. We just never had any. So that tended to keep our registration down.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
And these are the registrars who would tell you that, and the registrars, how would they get their position?
JACK HAWKE:
By law now, the party that holds the governorship had the registrar—the party in power always has one more vote than the other party. The registrar is always a member of the party in power, and there's a judge from the Republican side and a judge from the Democrat side, and three vote, and it's always two to one. So we never had that until '72, and even then we didn't have it because we didn't have people in all the precincts across the state to put it into place. My election, when we

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contested it, went to the Board of Elections. We had identified 780 people who voted who—when you go in, they write your name on the list when you tell them what it is, and they check you in the book, and then they give you a card—we found 780 people whose names were on the list who were no place in the book but somebody else's name had been checked. That was our first challenge. We went to the Board of Elections and it was a straight party vote. And what happened was we went to court and said, "Here's what we found. We want all the records confiscated so they can't be changed." The court put them under lock and key so they couldn't change them. The day we went to the Board of Elections the country registrar from Durham walked in with a paper sack with handles on it and said, "We found all these registration cards after the courts confiscated the records." Happened to find just every name we challenged, not one too many, not one too few, just happened to find every one. And never could explain why other names were checked on the book. But they voted straight party vote. We then went to, in the federal court, based on the Chicago hearing that said that you have to have equal access to the polling place, and the Chicago case was that they had fewer workers in the opposition polling places, and there were lines, they said, that waited up to thirty minutes. What they did in Durham was, in the places where people tend to vote Republican, they took the machines out and put them in the black precincts. So there was never a line all day long in the black precincts, but they were lined up an hour, people testified, in the other things. "I stood in line," we had people testify, "Stood in line

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for over an hour. Saw twenty people leave because they just couldn't stay." Unfortunately the judge ruled, "If you can show me 900 people that did that, but you haven't shown me 900 people." The Chicago case, all they had to show was the discrepancy. Anyhow, we have traditionally run poorly in the black precincts. We have a straight perception problem. Once you say Republican, you can't get beyond that in the black community. Haven't been able to, and this year may sit us back on that situation. Black voters may agree with us on a lot of issues but they can't get past the point that we're Republican. So even getting people to work in the precincts and watch the precincts is almost impossible. We've had a hard time doing that.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
Well, there have been cases, for instance, the Jim Vosberg case up in Madison county where, as I understand it, he was in a car watching the number of people who go in to vote, counting them, to make sure the Democrats didn't vote several hundred fraudulently. And he was arrested by the sheriff, thrown in jail, and then only got out because the Democratic state chairman realized how bad it was making the Democrats look.
JACK HAWKE:
Zeno Ponder could do anything he wanted to. There is a great story, and you're doing a Republican thing here, but there's a great story about the year George McGovern ran for president, and a bunch of college kids from Mars Hill or someplace decided to take over a precinct, and it was Zeno's precinct. They actually held a vote and voted Zeno out. They turned the votes out. And it erupted into a major battle and

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fight, and finally from Raleigh they called a new precinct meeting and sent people up to watch it. And Zeno's brother, E. Y. Ponder, was sheriff. He was out rounding up people to come to the precinct meeting, and caught one guy robbing a store or something or wounded him in the arm and carried him to the precinct meeting [Laughter] with the cuffs on and the blood running down his arm [Laughter] . So he had to vote before he went to jail. Madison County has got wild stories all over the place.
In my election in '72, Durham didn't report in. We were ahead. We were 6,000 votes ahead when we hit Durham, and Durham didn't report in and didn't report in and didn't report in. I said, "Get a field man over there and see what's happening." They called back from the county Board of Elections and said, "Well, they haven't reported because five precincts," which all happened to be black where we had no watchers, we had no workers, "are still open." "What do you mean, they're open at midnight?" The law says only if you're standing in line at 7:30 can you go on and vote. Well, they said people were standing in line and it's still open. And I contend to this day, they waited to see how many votes they needed [Laughter] , and then they reported those precincts in because we had nobody to check them. That's a real problem we have to this day, is having workers in every precinct to at least check them. Let's see, I mentioned check-off boxes because that's the thing in my craw right now. You've got the same thing that every state has with redistricting. If you'll look, national publications draw these wild looking

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districts to show what gerrymander is. Look at the eighth district in North Carolina. Goes from all the way over in Richmond County in the east, across the bottom, comes up, has a neck on it, and goes up and picks up Davie. Picks up those Republican counties over there and puts them with these very Democratic counties over here, just to offset them. I think it's a good example of the kind of weird drawn district that's a gerrymander. We face that this time, and there's no question in my mind, we faced it—it was a real problem. The Democrats in the legislature have bought over a million dollars of software, the most up-to-date software you can get, to draw lines right down to the precinct level. And secondly, Bob Jordan, when he was testifying on veto power to the governor, said, "You don't want to give this governor veto because they he could affect our plans for redistricting." The bill that came out of the senate went one step further. It gives the governor veto power but specifically eliminates redistricting from his veto ability. So I think the message is clear what they're going to do us there. Multi-member districts, we have joined with the NAACP to try to break up multi-member districts in many cases. What happens is if you have a big district that elects four people and it has a large black population but not enough for the black population to elect one of those four, you end up with all white representatives. So the NAACP took suit that it was discriminating against blacks. Well, we joined them because we said it was discriminating against Republicans too. And what actually happens is when they draw a district to ensure a black

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representative, we get a Republican. Because you take all that black vote out of the thing. We almost got that in Durham last time. The court had ruled they had to draw lines, and they had redrawn the lines in Durham, and a northern Durham district was Republican. George Miller was in it, who's a power in the legislature, but because the election he got a law passed that took that back. So they're still elected county wide. It happened in Wilson County, Jim Hunt's home. So there's now Larry Edridge, Republican, and a black elected from this end of the county. So when we get single member districts, it helps us too. But that's a law that you had to go to court to get.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
And is there a law against bullet voting, voting for only one of say four in a district-at-large sitting?
JACK HAWKE:
I don't think there's a law against that.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
I know they tried to pass one against Bill Osteen.
JACK HAWKE:
Out of Greensboro. I don't think there's a law against that. They did have a problem with, which I'm sure you looked into, with Jonas. Where if you take a paper ballot that says at the top, Democrat or Republican, and then it gives the names you can vote for, and some people would say, "Well, I'm a Democrat but I'm voting for Charlie Jonas." And they were saying, "Well, that's a straight Democrat vote. Jonas didn't get it." So that's a problem that they had too. But that's who controls the elections board. I would hope, having had a governor for five and a half years, that we solved some of the problems in local election boards. But what they did, although we took over the vote now on that board with the registrar and

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two judges, and on the county boards we now have a one vote margin and on the state board. They passed a law when Martin came into office that said that all of the employees that run the elections, the director of elections, cannot be replaced by the board. Like here in Wake County, their head of the board, director, whatever they called it, was old enough, she was going to retire in about two years. Martin gets elected; they pass this law; she retired immediately, so they could name somebody to take her place. So the Republicans wouldn't get a chance to name the person that ran the office. So they do little things like that. Alex Brock, who I think is real good to work with and has been real cooperative with me, but is a long time Democrat—they based another law that basically gave Alex Brock his job for life. He can't be replaced by the board. He's state director of elections. So they basically made him state director for life.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
But in the long run it'll probably work for your benefit. Now it's more of civil service type of position. Or how are those positions filled once those folks… ?
JACK HAWKE:
When Jim Holshouser became governor, they passed a law that said that anybody that had been a state employee for one year was protected under the State Employee's Act and could not be replaced without cause. When Jim Holshouser left office, they passed a new law that said you had to be a state employee for five years in order to be covered under the personnel act and not be replaced. So everybody hired by Holshouser could be fired without case immediately.
JONATHAN HOUGHTON:
And were they?

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JACK HAWKE:
Yes, yes. I don't know of one Republican that survived. But, you know, you want to get into a whole new area, we have a real problem with the media. When Josphesus Daniels started the News and Observer, we have a letter that he sent to investors where they promised they would never say a good word or endorse a Republican. Never say a good word about a Republican. And they lived up to it [Laughter] . So Hunt never got the first criticism for all the firing he did. When Jim Martin became governor, there were 1,750 state employees who are not covered under the personnel act, who could be replaced at will of the governor. Today there are 400 from 1,750. When Holshouser left office, it was about 700. Hunt took it up to 1,750.
END OF INTERVIEW
1. The press exposed Cobb's "common law marriage" (and children) to a woman in Virginia, while his legal wife and children resided in Morganton, North Carolina.