President Jimmy Carter’s 1992 book, Turning Point: A Candidate, a State, and a Nation Come of Age is the story of Carter’s first run for public office. In 1962, Carter sought a seat in the State Senate and was the victim of blatant vote stuffing. At the time Georgia was still resisting desegregation laws, and elections were contested and decided within Democratic Party primaries.
Carter contested the results, hiring a lawyer and benefiting from some excellent local journalism to have the election overturned. The book is a great read for anyone interested in how elections were fought in the rural south before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 changed the way politics was conducted in that area of the nation. Corruption, white supremacy and party bosses ruled the day, and this partly accounts for the reason Southern Democrats accrued so much seniority and influence in Federal office.
The book is a must read for those who admire President Carter. His moral and courageous stands at the time were downright dangerous in rural South Georgia. But they were right for the nation and less than 15 years later he was elected our first President in history from the deep south.
You can check out our recently released Florida Squeeze Documentary on Jimmy Carter’s 1976 campaign here.