On the death of Jesse Helms


There are few North Carolinians more qualified to speak on the passing of Helms than Rob Christensen, longtime political writer for the Raleigh News & Observer and author of The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics: The Personalities, Elections, and Events That Shaped Modern North Carolina.

Jesse Helms ran some of the most legendary – and racist – campaigns in the late-twentieth-century United States. And he kept winning. During Helms’s last term, John Edwards was elected to serve alongside him. Such are the ironies of North Carolina politics. To help wrap your mind around such things, allow Christensen to explain.

Another UNC Press author, William A. Link, offers further insight into Helms. Link, author of an award-winning biography of William Friday as well as a social history of North Carolina during the Progressive Era, has recently published a biography of Jesse Helms called Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism (from St. Martin’s Press).