Harvey Gantt: "We DID win."

Harvey Gantt, twice nominated by North Carolina Democrats to run against Jesse Helms for the US Senate, speaks to the ultimate legacy of those two historic races. His words here represent one of those rare occurances: a beautiful, gracious moment in the political evolution of our state. Thank you, Mr. Gantt.

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Got a chance to visit with Mayor Gantt

for a while yesterday at his offices in Charlotte. YDNC President Conen Morgan and I were there to shoot his remarks for the 2nd Annual Gantt/Watt reception (The Mayor's daughter is getting married and he won't be present). After we'd gotten that bit of business out of the way, I told him that I'd been so impressed with his remarks at last years reception. At the time, the election was still a few weeks away and that now famous photo of Barack in the Gantt T-shirt had just surfaced in the NY Times the day before.

He spoke about the historic nature of Obama's campaign and predicted that he'd win in North Carolina, but he also added the caveat that it had looked like HE was going to win North Carolina in 1990 until the unthinkable "Hands" ad ran around two weeks out. Gantt said that no one in the campaign could believe that North Carolinians would fall for such an overtly racist appeal... in 1990!

Coming to terms with that loss (and the subsequent 1996 defeat) must have been doubly difficult because of the regressive race-baiting that the Helms campaign stooped to. My sense was that the November 2008 election was crucial for Harvey Gantt personally, and I wanted to know where his heart was now, almost a year later.

His answer is a reminder of the good things that have happened in this state since this great, great man last ran for office.

Please check out the YDNC.org website for more information about the Watt/Gantt Reception next Saturday. Mel Watt, Grier Martin and the YDNC will be honoring Anthony Foxx, a young Charlotte Councilman who-- we hope!-- will be the next direct beneficiary of the Gantt Legacy and Charlotte's next great mayor.