Helms, Hunt, And Whiteness: The 1984 Senate Campaign In North Carolina

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James Patrick Kellam (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Karl Campbell

Abstract: In 1984, the Democratic governor of North Carolina, Jim Hunt, challenged Republican Jesse Helms for his seat in the United States Senate, and the contest proved to be the most expensive non-presidential election in American history up to that time. Two decades after the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-twentieth century, race continued to impact the politics of the South. Helms won with a four percent margin over his Democratic rival by appealing to 63 percent of the vote cast by white Tar Heels. The post-civil rights, emotionally-charged culture of whiteness in the Tar Heel state—the transcendence of racial prejudice and other cultural issues favored by white conservatives over class interests—informed the tactics used by Helms as well the response from Hunt. By giving equal attention to both campaigns’ strategies and tactics—particularly within the advertising battle that flooded media outlets in the state for over a year—can the irrational influence of whiteness on North Carolina politics be understood. Moreover, a better grasp of whiteness illuminates not only the effects the culture has on American politics but how race is used by those seeking power within American political culture.

Additional Information

Kellam, James. (2017). "Helms, Hunt, And Whiteness: The 1984 Senate Campaign In North Carolina." Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
Language: English
Date: 2017
Jesse Helms, Jim Hunt, North Carolina Politics Political History of the South, American Politics and Race

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