49 Days: North Carolina was hit by a Hurricane, Elizabeth Dole collected money

DAY 49

Nine years ago this week, Hurricane Floyd pounded the coast of North Carolina. Elizabeth Dole, then running for president as a Kansan, decided it would be an appropriate time to hold high-dollar fundraisers all across the state. As Dole and her friends dined on caviar and enjoyed a live piano, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians found themselves displaced, without power, or stranded. Even as a Kansan, Dole had no regard for the best interests of the working families she would soon come to represent.

Hurricane Floyd Devastated Eastern North Carolina.
Hurricane Floyd devastated North Carolina with 51 deaths, 56,000 homes damaged, 10,000 people housed in temporary shelters, over 1,500 people rescued from flooded areas and over 500,000 customers without electricity at some points. [NOAA, Climate Watch, 3/2/00]

September 16, 1999: Hurricane Floyd Hit North Carolina.
Hurricane Floyd swept ashore near Cape Fear on the morning of September 16, 1999, pounding the North Carolina coast with 110-mph winds and an 11-foot wall of water. Floyd struck the shore about 25 miles south of Wilmington, North Carolina, where the storm already had dumped more than 14 inches of rain. [NOAA, Preliminary Report – Hurricane Floyd, 11/18/99]

“Thousands Rescued After Floyd,” Helicopters Rescued 1,500 From Trees And Rooftops Along North Carolina Coast. According to the Associated Press, emergency workers in boats and “Marines in helicopters swarmed” into North Carolina’s coastal plain September 17, 1999 to rescue “more than 1,500 people from roofs and trees” after the torrential rains of Hurricane Floyd. Another 800 people were saved in New Jersey. [Associated Press, 9/18/99]

“Nothing Since Civil War” Had Been As Destructive To North Carolina Families. “Nothing since the Civil War has been as destructive to families here,” said H. David Bruton, North Carolina’s Secretary of Health and Human Services. He went on to add, “The recovery process will be much longer than the water-going-down process.” [NOAA, Climate Watch, 3/2/00]

September 21, 1999: Elizabeth Dole Hauled In $100,000 In Two North Carolina Fundraisers. According to the Raleigh News and Observer, candidate Elizabeth Dole hauled in $100,000 for her presidential campaign in the North Carolina Triad at the home of Barry and Toni Frahm in the Greensboro Area and later at the home of Chip and Carol Holden in Winston-Salem, about 120 people attended, with sponsors paying $1,000 and others contributing $250 a person. [Raleigh News and Observer, 9/23/99; Winston-Salem Journal, 9/22/99]

Dole Pulled In $50,000 At Greensboro Fundraiser. A report by the Greensboro News And Record described her Greensboro fundraiser: “Dole’s Lincoln Town Car coasted past the ‘Valet Parking’ sign in the Frahm home’s drive, past a line of champagne-colored Lexus and Mercedes sedans, and halted in front of the cash table set up at the end of the walk. Twenty minutes late for her $50,000 Greensboro fundraiser, Dole glided into the foyer in her lilac power suit and basic black pumps, almost unnoticed by her donors.” [Greensboro News and Record, 9/22/99]

Greensboro Fundraiser Was “Sumptuous, Caviar-Nibbling Affair.” Dole’s fundraiser was a “sumptuous, caviar-nibbling affair in the Sedgefield home of Barry and Toni Frahm,” accentuated by live piano music and a bartender in the bedroom, and was the first of two Piedmont fundraisers for Dole, according to the Greensboro News and Record. [Greensboro News and Record, 9/22/99]

Winston-Salem Journal: Dole Asked People At Fundraiser To Remember Flood Victims By Donating To Red Cross - Then Her Noted Leadership There. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, Elizabeth Dole went to Winston-Salem “to raise money at the home of Chip and Carol Holden, to shake hands, pose for pictures with donors and make a stump speech on the Holden staircase.” Dole started her speech “by reminding listeners that flood victims in Eastern North Carolina need contributions, too. She suggested donations to be sent through the American Red Cross, noting her own leadership of that organization.” [Winston-Salem Journal, 9/22/99]

Tipper Gore Cancelled North Carolina Fundraisers To Avoid Conflict With Relief Fundraising. Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Al Gore, postponed her fundraiser to avoid any conflicts with efforts to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Floyd. The fundraiser for Gore had been scheduled for the same Tuesday in Raleigh that Dole held her fundraisers. [Raleigh News and Observer, 9/23/99]

September 22, 1999: Dole Held Appearances In Massachusetts And NYC Day After North Carolina Fundraisers, Joked About When She Was Going To Get Dry Cleaning Done. On September 22, 1999, the day after holding fundraising events in North Carolina, Dole held appearances in Massachusetts and New York City. Dole finished her day with a $50,000 fund-raiser at a Fifth Avenue penthouse. Dole planned to be on the road 12 out of 14 days doing events. “You wonder if these schedulers ever think about when you need to stop and do the dry cleaning,” she joked. [Greensboro News and Record, 9/22/99]

Meanwhile, In North Carolina, The Cleanup Was Just Beginning.
Under the headline “Misery In North Carolina,” the Associated Press reported on September 22, 1999 that the North Carolina ground was “too soggy to bury the dead.” The Associated Press went on to state, “Dead hogs and chickens bob along with kitchen chairs and coffins in the filthy floodwaters… it could be weeks before some places dry out.” [Associated Press, 9/22/99]

Dole Refers To Hurricane Floyd And Hurricane Fran As Examples Of Disasters The Red Cross Handles. Dole refers to Hurricane Floyd and Fran as examples of the disaster relief work that the Red Cross does, despite the fact that Dole had left the Red Cross by the time Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina, and was on a leave campaigning for her husband when Hurricane Fran hit the state just a few years earlier. Dole was quoted in the Winston-Salem Journal as saying, “The Red Cross handles about 60,000 disasters a year. Some are large, like Hurricane Floyd, Hurricane Fran. But others are smaller disasters that don't garner any press attention, and therefore, no one knows, no one gives.” [Winston-Salem Journal, 7/30/02]

---Disclosure: I am Kay Hagan's Online Communications Director---



49 days.

Seems like both a lifetime and the blink of an eye.

The end of an error