HELMS ELECTED TO SENATE
On November 7, 1972, Jesse Helms was elected to the United States Senate. This year marks the 45th anniversary of that victory. We are excited to have recently acquired Helms’ the concession speech that Helms never delivered. On the night of the election, Helms handed his driver two speeches, a victory and a concession, and asked that whichever one he needed that night be handed to him on stage.
“Tonight, let us all join hands in re-dedication to the real meaning of America. Let us, in good faith and true faith, prepare to send a message to Washington - A message that only a decent and honorable and prudent America can fulfill the hopes and dreams of our people. That kind of America we must have; That kind of American we will have.” ⇨ Learn More
Reagan/1976 North Carolina Republican Primary
The 1976 North Carolina Republican Primary was a watershed moment in Ronald Reagan’s political career. Senator Jesse Helms and the North Carolina Congressional Club contributed to Reagan’s victory. The Reagan campaign came to North Carolina after losing the Iowa caucus and five straight primaries. Many powerful North Carolina Republican’s, including Governor James Holshouser, pleaded with Governor Reagan to drop out and have the nomination to President Ford.
Senator Helms played an important role in Reagan’s primary campaign and strongly endorsed his candidacy. Without a victory in North Carolina Governor Reagan would have been forced to drop from the race and, perhaps, there would never have been a President Reagan. In his book Reagan’s Revolution, author Craig Shirley writes, “Had Reagan lost in North Carolina, despite his public pronouncements…he would have made a gracious exit speech…and Reagan would have faded into political oblivion.”
The Panama Canal treaty was an issue Senator Helms faced early in his Senate career. President Jimmy Carter was in favor of giving control of the canal back to Panama by the year 2000. Helms, and many other Senator’s, thought this was a bad decision. The canal was a strategic route from the east coast to the west coast of North America and its operation needed to be protected.
According to Helms, the United States built it, paid for it and fully supported the operation of the Panama Canal from its inception and should maintain control. In the end, however, control over the Panama Canal was given to Panama and the Torrijos-Carter Treaties were passed by the Senate.