In the 1960s the Republican Party became stronger in North Carolina, partly in reaction to the liberalism of the Democratic-controlled U.S. Congress. In 1972 North Carolina elected a Republican governor, James E. Holshouser, Jr. (1973-1977), their first since 1901, and a Republican U.S. senator, Jesse A. Helms, their first since 1895. Many other Republican candidates have been elected to Congress since 1972. In 1992 Republicans won control of the state House of Representatives (formerly the house of commons) and many county courthouses. Also in 1992, however, Democrat James B. Hunt, Jr., was elected governor; and Representative Eva M. Clayton, a Democrat, became the first black U.S Congress member from North Carolina since 1901.
Two North Carolina senators got large shares of the national limelight in the late 20th century—Republican Jesse Helms and Democrat Sam Ervin. Helms was first elected senator in 1972 and served until 2003, when he retired.
He was outspoken on his stands in favor of traditional moral values. The son of the police chief of Monroe, Helms stuck to his early convictions about law and order, respect for elders, religious faith, and patriotism. He was an opponent of abortion and an advocate of prayer in public schools. Sam Ervin was a North Carolina Supreme Court justice when he was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1954 to serve the unexpired term of the deceased Clyde R. Hoey. Ervin, who served in the Senate until 1974, was a Democrat of the old school. He opposed most civil rights legislation, generally supported business over labor, and supported U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War (1959-1975). Ervin got national attention for heading the Senate committee investigating the Watergate affair (1973-1974). He fought President Richard M. Nixon’s efforts to withhold evidence and testimony on the ground of executive privilege. "North Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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