Jim Hunt & Gary Pearce at QRB tonight (and a correction) | Citizen

Jim Hunt & Gary Pearce at QRB tonight (and a correction)



In our "8 days a week" listings in the Indy, I plugged the appearance at Quail Ridge Books tonight of former Gov. Jim Hunt and Gary Pearce, his longtime spokesman and author of the new Jim Hunt: A Biography. A major thread in the book is the race issue in North Carolina and how Hunt confronted it at every stage of his long public career. Hunt entered politics on the side of Democrats like Terry Sanford who were progressive on race at a time when the Democratic Party was in open warfare with itself over the issue; soon the segregationist Democrats would bolt to the Republican Party.

Jesse Helms was the most prominent of the latter group.

Hunt never flagged in his support of integration, and usually he won — four years as lieutenant governor and eight years as governor from 1972-84; eight more years as governor from 1992-2000. But once, he lost, to Helms in the '84 Senate race. At the time it was the most expensive Senate race ever and one of the most vicious campaigns in U.S. history. The loss rocked Hunt, not least because the outcome was so racially charged and Hunt felt he'd let down the cause by failing to make a winning case to the voters.

In light of the Democratic wipeout last week, two years into the term of our first African-American president, Hunt's take on President Obama's leadership, where he goes from here and the degree to which the GOP's trashing of Obama depends on the voters' latent racism are questions I expect Hunt and Pearce will take up tonight.

Beginning at 7:30.


Now the correction:

Introducing this subject in the Indy, I wrote that Jim Hunt has won 'em and he's lost 'em. And as Gary Pearce can attest, losing sucks — especially to a racist.

I picked up the paper today and looked at the item. It says losing sucks — especially for a racist.

OMG, I thought, did I make that mistake? There it is in print.

Mistakes are made and corrected every day, but this one hurts. Jim Hunt won five elections and he lost one particularly vicious one to a racist opponent. And as Gary Pearce can attest, losing to a racist, when your career is predicated on racial progress, does suck. (Suck, incidentally, is my word, not Gary's.)

Neither Gary nor Gov. Hunt needs an apology from me, but I do apologize for the error. The important thing is to correct the record to the extent that I can.

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