- Reflections on Georgia Politics oral history collection, 2006-2010
- Ned Young, 02 June 2008.
- Short, Bob, 1932
Young, Ned B., 1934-200
- Contributor to Resource:
- Short, Bob, 1932-
- Date of Original:
- Junior Chamber International
- Young, Ned B., 1934-2008
Maddox, Lester, 1915-2003
Arnall, Ellis Gibbs, 1907-1992
Stuckey, W. S. (Williamson Sylvester), 1935-
- United States, Georgia, 32.75042, -83.50018
- oral histories (literary works)
- In this interview, Young discusses his activity with the Jaycees, a civic organization, in Georgia and nationally, as well as his career of campaign management. He addresses his work with Ellis Arnall's 1966 gubernatorial campaign, Lester Maddox's campaign for governor, Maddox's 1970 bid for lieutenant governor, as well as the campaigns of Bill Stuckey and Sam Nunn.
Ned B. Young was born in Bakersville, North Carolina, in 1934. He attended the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. He moved to St. Simons, Georgia, in 1954, where he worked for Delta Airlines. He first became active in politics when he joined the Georgia Jaycees--he would become president of the organization and national director of the U.S. Jaycees. He worked for Ellis Arnall's gubernatorial campaign in 1966, and after Arnall's loss in the Democratic primary, Young joined Lester Maddox's gubernatorial campaign. He continued to support Maddox in his successful bid for lieutenant governor in 1970, and worked as a campaign advisor for Bill Stuckey and Sam Nunn. Young continued to live in St. Simons, and was the owner and operator of the Bowlarena in Brunswick for many years. He also owned Professional Corrections Services in Savannah. Ned Young died in Savannah in 2008.
Finding aid available in repository.
Interviewed by Bob Short.
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- Resources may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.
- Bibliographic Citation (Cite As):
- Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 033, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.
- 1 interview (78 min.) : sd., col.
- Original Collection:
- Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection
- Holding Institution:
- Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Ned Young interviewed by Bob Short
2008 June 2
Reflections on Georgia Politics
Original: video, 78 minutes
Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
University of Georgia Libraries
Young Harris College
Date of Transcription: September 21, 2009
BOB SHORT: Im Bob Short and this is Reflections on Georgia Politics sponsored Young Harris College and the Richard B. Russell Library at the University of Georgia. The election of Lester Maddox to the governorship of Georgia in 1966 is a contest that was finally decided by the Georgia General Assembly and young Sam Nunns victory in the senatorial election in 1972 were among the highlights of Georgia elective politics in the 60s and 70s. Our guest today, Ned Young, had a hand in both of those elections. Were delighted to have you here today, Ned.
NED YOUNG: Thank you, Bob.
SHORT: You know, we go back a long ways, all the way back to the Georgia Jaycees when you and I were, in fact, in the same chapter.
YOUNG: Thats correct.
SHORT: And tell us a little bit about the Jaycees at that time and their political organizations and how they went about campaigning.
YOUNG: Well, Bob, there was a number of programs in the Jaycees and, youre correct, we did go back; this was many years in the St. Simons Island Georgia Jaycees, of which we were both I guess charter members at the time. And it was a situation like I was asked to join and I, you know, I kind of reluctant not knowing what the organization was about until several of my friends had joined and, you know, it was developing young leadership in the business and business, financial and political world. And, consequently, this kind of rung a bell with me because when I came to Georgia initially (my home was in Chattanooga) after I got out of high school and college, I went to work for Delta Air Lines on St. Simons. And, at that time, there was like 800 people in the island, so a very small, very close-knit group. And I did join the Jaycees because the word political kind of jumped out at me.
YOUNG: And I said, you know, I was always interested in Georgia politics and coming from the state of Tennessee, it wasnt quite as flowery, so to speak, as Tennessee politics were. So, at any rate, I joined the Jaycees and, at that time, had gone through the ranks of a member to Treasurer to Secretary to Vice President and President, then went on to run for National Director and ultimately ended up running twice for the state presidency of the operation, of which I lost because maybe I knew too much about politics, and I got politics into a group that really wasnt ready for that kind of politics. In other words, it was rough-and-tumble politics.
In the process of running for those offices, I had met some a very dear friend of mine (who is now deceased) and asked me to join a statewide race for Governor. And, of course, this was like, goodness, Ive hit the top of the ladder...
YOUNG: ...right off the bat, you know, by getting in the governors race, and the candidate at that time was Ellis Arnall in his second run for the governorship of Georgia. Well, needless to say, having not known Governor Arnalls position in politics prior to that time in his first tenure as Governor, I ended up in the situation where I worked hard as his youth leader and, by that having been involved with statewide Jaycee politics, was able to pull a number of Jaycees around the state into his campaign for the second run at Governor. Well, needless to say, that race was not successful. We thought we had a winner in the race and, in fact, having an astute attorney, ex-Governor, articulate, everything going for him, it was just a matter of going in and doing the race and youre gonna win. And thats how I became I was naive at the time. And, of course, I sold a lot of that quality to the Jaycees I pulled in to work with us.
Needless to say, as it narrowed down to the race, of course it became a runoff between Ellis Arnall and Lester Maddox. And, of course, as everybody, we were listening to the anti-Maddox people and we knew that with all the astuteness of Ellis Arnall, we had a Governor on our hands. And it so happened that the election was on Tuesday. I think on Monday night, we had a situation where we had already put the tapes in the cans and we were ready to go election eve, and we had Governor Arnall sitting not at the desk but moving around and standing in front of the desk, and we had American flags on one side, Georgia flags on the other side. We had law books on the right and the misnomer was those were not ax handles or pickax handles they were pick handles. And we had the pick handles crossed on the desk.
SHORT: The pick handles, of course, referring to Governor Maddox.
YOUNG: Governor Maddox, thats correct. Do you want law and order or do you want violence on the street? Well, I think that weekend (and I may have my dates wrong), they had some problems in Selma, Alabama, and the people at that time, when they went to the polls on Tuesday had made up their minds they would take the pick handles over the law and order. Consequently, Governor Maddox defeated Ellis Arnall and became the nominee for the Democratic Party in the state of Georgia.
SHORT: I think we need to talk for a minute about the roll of Jimmy Carter in that campaign because he later became Governor and President of the United States. Did the Arnall campaign ever consider Carter as a legitimate foe?
YOUNG: I think probably it was considered that and, as we get a little further in the conversation, it was like Governor Maddoxs last run where we had selected the wrong candidate that we thought the competition would be coming from, i.e., Bert Lance was gonna come Bert Lance as opposed to George Busbee and I think that was the situation. Carter was kind of -- he was there, but we didnt look at him; we looked at him more as a foe than we did, you know, than we did Maddox because of the bad press that Maddox had been getting over the years in the office he had ran for and been defeated for.
SHORT: So Maddox versus Arnall was a runoff election.
SHORT: And Maddox won.
SHORT: And, but that was not the road to the governorship as it used to be.
YOUNG: [Chuckling] No, no, no. Yeah, as you had pointed out earlier, I think the situation that Governor Maddox, of course, had a reputation. He had the (and well probably get into that a little later) as he denoted, the little peeps, the little people. That was his role with the little people. He was their champion. And, of course, as it went down, we figured that in that particular race that Carter would be the ultimate and Im getting back and Im with Arnall now would be getting back to the fact that we were gonna have to beat Jimmy Carter and not Lester Maddox. And the role that we did, we put more emphasis on Jimmy Carter, who ultimately ended up I think third in that race, than we did on Lester Maddox.
YOUNG: And, consequently, that was here a political blunder which we made.
SHORT: Maddox, after receiving the nomination, had a huge challenge in Republican Congressman Bo Callaway.
SHORT: By that point, as I recall, you had joined with the Democrats and Lester Maddox in that campaign.
YOUNG: Yes. I was, after Governor Arnall lost here, again, you know, I was living Monday through Friday in Atlanta in a campaign headquarters and going home, back to St. Simons, on Saturday and Sunday because I had a business down there at the time which I was active in. Consequently, it was a situation that I had gone back for the weekend and actually had packed my bags and said, Well, Im not going back to Atlanta because my candidates gone. I dont think that I can get involved in the other persons race.
I had been home less than 24 hours and I get a telephone call, and it was the Governors brother, Wesley, and said, We understand that youre back on St. Simons, now your candidate lost. Would you come join Governor Maddox? At that time, they were referring to him as Governor. Would you come join Governor Maddox in his campaign for the governorship of Georgia? And I said, Eh, I dont think so. I dont know. Ill let you know. In other words, the old dont call me; Ill call you kind of thing. Within a couple of days later, I get another call from the Callaway people saying, Would you come up and meet with Governor Callaway? I said, Well, here we are. Ive got two governors trying to get me to come to work for them.
But, at any rate, I went back and that same week that I was up there I met with the Callaway people and I met with the Maddox people. And I talked to both candidates at length and, at the conclusion, I had, before I made the decision, I went back to Governor Arnall and I says, Im in a dilemma. I dont know what to do. And he says, You a Democrat? I said, Yes, sir, I am. He said, Youve got youre not in a dilemma. Youve got no choice. And, with that, I notified the Callaway people that I would be working for Lester Maddox in his governorship, heading up the young people in Georgia, predominantly those Jaycee age people (and Im getting back to the Jaycees again), those Jaycee age people.
And, consequently, we were it was a lot of work, a lot of hard work but the Jaycees were known for their ability to work hard and to complete a project. And, consequently, we were able to pull the majority of the Jaycees in the state of Georgia, you know, from the large chapters in Fulton County, Atlanta, DeKalb County, you know, Muscogee and Columbus, we were able to pull them into the race and get them involved in Governor Maddoxs race of which...
SHORT: Did --
YOUNG: Im sorry?
SHORT: Go ahead.
YOUNG: Which ultimately, as I started to say, ended up successful because everybody was pulling together.
SHORT: Did the Maddox campaign change its tactics from a race against Arnall to a race against Callaway?
YOUNG: Actually, Bob, I dont think I think names were kind of superfluous. He used the same method in his campaigning whether itd been only a name change, you know. Everything else was the same. Our politics pretty much stayed down that road with a good candidate that moved, a good candidate that was popular in a lot of sections. A lot of sections he wasnt popular, but then nobody has everything. And, consequently, it was a situation that he we didnt change tactics that much as far as, you know, we may have changed a few adjectives, you know, like the silk stocking crowd and things like that that was used in prior campaigns. But, no, the politics was: Get to the people.
And, of course, my primary purpose and it became very accentuated in the Maddox campaign was organization. I have always been in the Jaycees, I was successful in the years I was in Jaycees (except for running for State President) for organization. Get to the people. You know? Knock on that door. Shake those hands. Go in the barber shops, restaurants, wherever. Meet the people and press the flesh. It was a situation of course, thats all changed today due to television. Nobody does that anymore. Its just how much money you can put into a campaign for electronic media. And, consequently, we did, and, of course, Maddox was a great campaigner doing that --pressing the flesh and, you know, hed say, you know, You may not like me, but youll vote for me. And, you know, ultimately a lot of them believed that because he was ultimately elected Governor of Georgia.
SHORT: He knocked up a lot of signs.
YOUNG: I never was involved [chuckling] in putting up signs. We had the sign crowd for that. But, like I said, it was a matter of when I set up an organization, I would go into a county. I would find me a county leader, a popular county leader, maybe a county commissioner, maybe a city commissioner, maybe a preacher you know, whatever the case may be but he was popular in his community. And then my next step would be to get a female. It might be the person it might be the males wife that we get, it may not be, whatever the case may be. Then I had a youth leader covering the college age people that would be voting. And, consequently, when we went into a community or into a city, we would notify the people. You know, our schedule would be set up in advance, but wed notify them a week or ten days in advance, Were coming to your city. We want people out there. Now were not necessarily, even though Governor Maddox didnt have a lot of money in any of his campaigns, we were not pressing for money; we were pressing for people. You know, wed send the signs ahead. Theyd have em up. Itd look like, you know, signs the town would just be papered with signs and then here would come Governor Maddox behind it. And we always had a crowd. We never ended up without a crowd. And it was just prior proper planning.
SHORT: Before we get to Election Day, Maddox versus Callaway, lets talk for a minute about Write-In Georgia. Do you remember the bumper sticker that read, Go Bo...
YOUNG: And take Lester with you Im sorry. Yeah, I remember that well. That was that was disgruntled Ellis Arnall people whom I had worked with in the Arnall campaign. But, you know, they were to a point they could not fathom Lester Maddox as Governor. They lost their candidate so, you know, Lets write him in. Now what the ultimate end behind it was, Im sure that the write-in group did not want what happened to happen, but I think it was out of frustration, Lets do something and try to sink Lester Maddox. And, of course, it didnt work and the some 35,000 votes that Governor Arnall got which actually ended up throwing the race to the Georgia Legislature.
YOUNG: Nobody had a majority.
SHORT: Right. The day after that election, there were several lawsuits filed. It was in the courts for a number of weeks, perhaps months, before the final decision was rendered. What did Governor Maddox do between the time of the election where there was no winner and the time the Supreme Court ruled?
YOUNG: To my knowledge, he never slowed down. He was on a fast track pace and he continued to move. He continued to call his friends. Our legal people inside the campaign were doing their thing. There was no there was no gear-back; it was: move forward. And, consequently, you know, thats the way everybody worked. I doubt anybody on staff ever missed a day in that office working, and the people out in the field were doing the same thing in the counties throughout the state, the 159 counties throughout Georgia.
SHORT: He was inaugurated the day following his election by the General Assembly. Well, lets get back to the General Assembly. The race was not close.
YOUNG: Thats correct.
SHORT: Maddox won a big majority, I assume mainly because most of the members of the General Assembly were Democrats.
SHORT: And there were a few that voted for Callaway. (Im speaking of Democrats.) But, by and large, he was elected by the Democrats. The next day, his Inauguration Day, he appeared for the first time before the people of Georgia as their Governor. Some people were fearful. Others were in a quandary. What do you think that his speech on Inauguration Day did to allay the fears of those who might think that he would not be a good Governor?
YOUNG: Well, I think one thing, you know, the Governors Office heretofore had been in a situation where if you were involved, you know, you had access, for instance to the Governors Office and access to the Governor. And, you know, Governor Maddox came up with the Little Peoples Day. You know, The Mansions gonna be open to you. The Governors Office is gonna be open to you. Come and help us run State government. And, you know, this told even the little people as well as the people who would not may not be denoted as little people, it threw them into a position that, Hey, this is not a close-knit because I didnt vote for the guy, I cant even get to Atlanta, much less go to the Governors Office or the Governors Mansion. And the Little Peoples Day turned out to be a tremendous thing that caught on, as we referred to it in the office, Little Peeps Day.
SHORT: Little Peeps?
YOUNG: And little peeps showed up.
SHORT: Well, the Governor didnt like that too much.
YOUNG: [Laughing] No he was he was strictly the Little Peoples Day.
SHORT: Well, it started as Peoples Day, and then somebody added Little People, and them some guys like you called it Little Peeps. But, anyway, it was a very successful part of his administration. I think as you look back on the Maddox administration that one thing that he must be admired for is that of taking on issues that other governors refused to touch, like pardon and parole corruption, corrections, the way prisoners were treated [overlapping conversation].
YOUNG: [Indiscernible] program.
SHORT: Yeah. The speed trap at Ludowici.
YOUNG: I was involved in that [chuckling]...
SHORT: Do you remember all of that?
YOUNG: ...and I understand it well yes.
SHORT: Okay. Well, tell us...
YOUNG: The only problem pardon me for interrupting. The only problem we had with that prior to the trip down there, which was...
SHORT: Now this is Ludowici?
YOUNG: Yeah, its in Ludowici
YOUNG: The speed traps and the gambling that was going on. You know, service stations that didnt sell gas; they sold gambling and they had prostitution and things like that, you know, going. And I recall that Governor Maddox had a sign put up on the outskirts of Ludowici saying, This is a speed trap. And every time the State put up a sign, theyd tear it town, the people of Long County. That was the situation. Finally, he had to put State Troopers down there protecting the sign that was up there that warned the tourists on 301 that Ludowici is a speed trap and, you know, be careful. But that situation was advertised a couple or three weeks in advance that the Governor was going to Ludowici and clean the town up. And I think there was a couple of KC-97s went out of Dobbins Air Force Base with media, staff out from the Governors office and everything, and I was on one of the flights. And, consequently, when we got down there, its like I wouldve thought that the town would just shut down, but it just continued to move on just like it was doing. And, consequently, it was a situation that the Governor would go in and introduce himself and say, This is what were here for. Were, you know, were gonna shut this town down. Were gonna stop illegal gambling, gonna stop prostitution, etc., etc. And, consequently, it was like a two-day affair down there, a real circus media circus with State Patrol cars, various and sundry mayors, you know, people following it around from other counties surrounding the county. But, yeah, it was that it ultimately pretty much shut down the town as far as the gambling and prostitution was concerned.
SHORT: Governor Maddox was known for having great sympathy for prisoners and their families.
YOUNG: Thats correct.
SHORT: Do you recall any moves that he made to improve the conditions of the Georgia prisons?
YOUNG: Well, he had really waded into that thing heavy, Bob, and it was a situation thats what entered it started the Early Release Program. And the fact that some of the less hardened criminals naturally the hardened, the convicted felons, you know, the heinous crimes, that wasnt involved but where you had other people that were down in Jackson, which is the ultimate, at that time, ultimate prison. It used to be Reidsville, then it, you know, changed to Jackson because executions were handled in Jackson and not at Reidsville anymore. But a number of prisoners on early release were brought to Atlanta, the Atlanta Civic Center, and there must have been probably in the neighborhood of 500 to 1,000 prisoners that were released early. And, of course, their families were there. The prisoners were brought up on buses. And, of course, they had already, to my knowledge, had already been worked so they, you know, they finished as far as the prison was concerned. And Ill never forget, which turned out to be one of Governor Maddoxs staunch supporters financially, was Johnny Cash. At that time, Cash was doing a television show a national television show maybe, I think, on CBS. And, of course, he brought the whole group and they had this tremendously large program and this big show at the Atlanta Civic Center for the early release prisoners. Of course, I might add too that there didnt seem to be a lot of interest in Johnny Cash at the time because some of these guys hadnt seen their wives or sweethearts for years. [Laughter] And they were more interested in having conversation with family members than they were Johnny Cash.
SHORT: Uh-huh. Well, thats quite understandable.
SHORT: By and large, Lester Maddox received good grades...
SHORT: ...as Governor, and he was very popular at the end of his term.
SHORT: So he decided to run for Lieutenant Governor against an incumbent governor and against a state representative who was well-known and well-financed.
YOUNG: Thats correct.
SHORT: Do you recall that race?
YOUNG: [Chuckling] Very, very vividly. Im at the Governors Office one day about 10 or 11 oclock in the morning and, as hed quite frequently do, he come by and say, Mr. Ned, come and go with me. I never knew where we were gonna go. It happened in the presidential race and the American Independent Party come by one day and he says, Come, go with me. Oh, by the way, bring a suitcase.
YOUNG: And I didnt get home for about ten days. Were all up and down the West Coast of the United States California, Oregon, Washington, there. But, at any rate, he came by and said, Come and go with me. So we end up at the Capitol City Club and, of course, being Governor, everybody was there. The place was packed out. And at that point in time, he made notice at that time that he was going to run for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia. And, of course, everybody was applauding and things like this and Im sitting there kind of, Wow! I didnt even know it was gonna be announced at that meeting. And he says, And, by the way, I brought my campaign manager with me. And I looked around and I was the only one from the staff there and, all at once, I thought my first reaction was, Uh-oh. Ive got a problem. And he introduced me as his campaign manager for the Lieutenant Governors race.
SHORT: He was Lieutenant Governor with Jimmy Carter, who was Governor, and they seemed to get off on bad terms over the who would select the committees in the Senate and who would name the Senate committee chairmen and, above all, who would be president pro tem. Do you remember any of that?
YOUNG: No, I was not that much involved, Bob, because I know that bad blood followed that race without ever getting involved I think into the committee appointments and chair appointments because of prior races that they had been involved in and, you know, it was just, for lack of a better word I guess, bad blood that was carried forward. And, you know, it erupted there because, at that point in time, Governor Maddox had been #1. Now hed moved to #2 and his adversary had moved into #1 and, consequently, it just creates problems.
SHORT: We failed to talk about the fact that when he was Governor, Zell Miller, who was later Governor and a United States Senator, moved into his office as his Executive Secretary.
SHORT: And Zell Miller also went with Governor Maddox up to his Lieutenant Governors Office.
YOUNG: Thats correct.
SHORT: He decided to leave. Do you remember why he left?
YOUNG: You mean why Miller left Governor Maddox?
YOUNG: No, not nothing that I could hang my hat on. Its a situation that Miller and I know Zell; Ive known him for a long time is very politically motivated and, you know, there was something that Zell was looking at that just may have been the ultimate end. In other words, he had done all he could do at that point and he had to move to another position for his own political well-being.
SHORT: Yes. He went to the Democratic Party.
YOUNG: Thats correct.
SHORT: A job offered to him by Governor Carter. And speaking of Governor Carter, the well-known dispute between Governor Maddox and Governor Carter over House Bill 1, which was the reorganization bill, actually was the real foundation of their dispute. Do you remember the political action over that?
YOUNG: No, Im not was not that in that particular position as far as the Governors Office was concerned, in my affiliation with Governor Maddox I was not that I didnt get tied up in something. Usually, in a situation, it if wasnt your job, you kind of stayed away from it.
YOUNG: And that was not part and parcel of what I had to do.
SHORT: Often, as Lieutenant Governor, Mr. Maddox was criticized for his shop in Underground Atlanta...
SHORT: ...and his appearance on national talk shows.
SHORT: That was an issue in the campaign when he ran in 1974 for Governor against George Busbee.
SHORT: Tell us about that campaign.
YOUNG: Well, here again, I was having come from the first governors race the first governors race, lieutenant governors race. Needless to say, I was pretty heavily involved in the second run for governor, and it was a situation that, as far as the politics was concerned (of course, there was a well qualified field) being Governor Busbee who got elected naturally. Bert Lance. And, consequently, you know, we ran the Lester Maddox type campaign. Basically, you ran what the Governor how you wanted to run because he was his own boss when he and hed tell you what he wanted to do and how he wanted to handle it. And, consequently, it was a situation that we felt that, you know, why, if youre successful, why change, and we ran that type of campaign. Consequently, it was a situation that Governor Maddox had made some political blunders in that inasmuch as I think at that point in time Cassius Clay you may remember that incident where Clay would, Governor Maddox invited him to fight in Georgia. Because he was a draft dodger, a lot of the other states had said, No, no, no. You know, were not gonna recognize him. And at that point in time, I think and that may have been the end of the governors race, at the ending of the governors race, where he made a statement, Cassius Clay was a great American and he should be allowed to fight in Georgia. Consequently, at that time, we were in Albany, Georgia, and had gotten a call from headquarters in Atlanta stating, Weve got a problem. Telegrams were rolling into the Governors Office by the box load criticizing the Governor for making that statement concerning Cassius Clay.
Consequently, that finally eased out and smoothed over a little bit, but then there were other blunders that Governor Maddox was a great orator and he had good speech writers. And, consequently, when they did a speech, he was given the speech before he went to the venue to, whether it be in Dalton to talk about the carpet people or wherever it may be; to Plains to talk about the peanut folks or the farmers down in south Georgia. He would deliver that speech verbatim and hed always say, In closing, let me say. Once he turned that last page over, he would kill everything that he had just said prior to that extemporaneously and, consequently, it created a lot of problems because he would, if he had something on his mind, it would come out. It didnt make any difference what the speech said, what he wanted out he got at the end extemporaneously.
SHORT: In other words, he ignored his good record.
SHORT: And a workhorse, not a show horse was a great slogan of George Busbee, and that seemed to catch on with the people.
YOUNG: Yes. Yes.
SHORT: And weve kicked that around among several people and they thought that was very apropos of that campaign because it got Busbees point across, which is: I will work and my opponent is going to the talk shows and the Underground Atlantas and that sort of thing. Did you consider Busbee your main opponent in that race?
SHORT: Did not?
YOUNG: Did not. And that was one of our that was our major political blunder. We were looking at the big bucks. We were looking at Bert Lance you know, the banker, the contacts, everything that he had and looked over Busbee who was, at that time, a legislator, you know, with no, you know, appearances that would jump out at you that he could be a top contender. And that was that was a very big mistake that we made, the whole campaign made.
SHORT: Busbee ran very low in the polls early. Of course, he had the support of Carl Sanders and Bert Lance had the support of Jimmy Carter.
SHORT: So you were up against two well-heeled political organizations...
SHORT: ...at that time. So your campaign then was similar to that in 1966 and in 1970. You just continued the Lester Maddox approach which was Maddox! Maddox! Maddox! signs and shaking hands?
YOUNG: And had been successful, you know? And figured it would, you know, come back to not to haunt us, but to, you know, continue to be the success that the people knew. Of course, at that time, you know, there were changes going on in Georgia. There was a great influx of people coming in from other states from the northern states and things like this and, you know, they knew Maddox like, well, I think it he walked off The Jack Parr Show I think was the show he walked off of. And, you know, the media predominantly, as he referred to it, The Atlanta Fish Wrapper, you know, had great coverage, you know, throughout the South and, consequently, they never seemed to let up on him as far as hammering him for anything that even if it was right, they would find some wrong in it. You know, it was a situation that we had Ill never forget one time that they had jumped on Governor Maddox while he was Governor, the Constitution did, the Journal/Constitution, and he had all the paper boxes removed from the Capitol from the Hill at the Capitol. And, consequently, they quit writing about him. They just cut him off completely. About 30 days later, the paper boxes went back, so he had them put back on the Hill when they quit writing completely about him. So, as the old adage goes, I dont care what you say about me. Just mention me often.
SHORT: Well, he had a hard time with editorial writers because they were a little bit more progressive at that point and they thought he was...
SHORT: ...in terms of race relations and that sort of thing. Okay. Maddox was defeated. He went into business. He had a very successful business career after that, but he also had some political debts. And, as I recall, Governor Sanders and Commissioner Blackmon and a group of others had a fundraiser for him...
SHORT: ...and they were able to liquidate all of his debts. Now, Ned, lets go back for a minute to Lester Maddoxs career in the very beginning. He became famous by writing ads in the Atlanta newspapers critical of city government.
SHORT: And he finally put his mouth put his actions where his mouth was and ran for Mayor.
SHORT: Two times, and both times was defeated. But he generated enough support in that area to run for Lieutenant Governor later and did surprisingly well. Did he use the same campaign tactics then as he used in his later years?
YOUNG: Bob, I didnt see a lot of changes. If there were, they were so minute. It was, you know: Press the flesh, get to the people, show the people who I am, tell the people who I am. And, of course, there were he was not a bashful individual. He would wade into any group of people. It didnt make a difference who they were, what race, creed, color or national origin, hed wade right into that crowd. And a lot of times, you know, when they when he left, youd see the people shaking their heads, but saying, Hey, you know, maybe theres something here. And that tactic was pretty much used through every political campaign that I was involved with him with; and, of course, like you said, you run a couple of times for Mayor, you run for Lieutenant Governor, you lose, and all at once you run for Governor and youre elected. It was the mood of the times, the change of the people.
SHORT: How much effect do you think the incident at the Pickrick had on his political career?
YOUNG: That would be hard to say. It was a situation at the time, it was a popular thing because he, a little guy from Georgia, is fighting the White House and the President of the United States. Consequently, I think we all feel even today that, hey, the White House we might even be better to do without a President. You know? Who knows what the situation may be? But everybody is the majority of the people are anti-whoevers sitting in Washington. Whether it be a Democrat or Republican, theyre anti-Washington and the big bureaucracy up there that we so aproposly(sic) approach and pay taxes for so itll continue to operate. And I think as far as the Pickrick situation was concerned, that was a means to an end. At that time, race relations were going in another direction. People were having problems in Alabama. The people were having problems in the South. Not picking out Alabama, but that was Selma, the problems they were having over there and things of that nature. It was the fact that lets all go against lets go against the White House. Lets go against Washington. And Maddox was a place in time and he was I think intelligent enough and I dont think he was intelligent enough to know that he was not, this was not a black/white issue. This was an issue where Washington was saying, Youre gonna do this. Washington was not didnt have any money in Maddoxs business. They were taking money from him in taxes but, yet, they were gonna tell him that, You can feed these people or you cant be you have to feed these people, you must feed these people, youve gotta do what were telling you or... And thats the time that he selected the or and ended up closing Pickrick.
SHORT: Which subsequently led him to the race his first race for Governor.
YOUNG: Thats correct.
SHORT: Right. Now lets move a little bit further ahead to 1971 when President(sic) Dick Russell passed away in Washington.
SHORT: And Jimmy Carter had the responsibility of appointing a successor. He appointed David Gambrell, an Atlanta attorney, who had been his treasurer in his campaign both his campaigns and Gambrell had the problem of having to run again within a year.
SHORT: So one of his opponents in that race was Sam Nunn, a young State legislator from Perry, Georgia, and I think you had a role in that campaign.
YOUNG: Yes, I did, Bob. I had I had some friends in that race that and, of course, Sam Nunn wasnt one of them. I did not know Sam at the time. Id heard briefly, you know. I did check to see who he was after he announced, and I didnt know him. And, consequently, I did have two friends that were thinking about running, one being the Labor Commissioner Sam Caldwell and the other being a U.S. Congressman from my district, Bill Stuckey. And, consequently, before too long had gone by, maybe a month, I get a call from Stuckey and, of course, he had a home on St. Simons and he says, Would you meet me with some of my supporters on the Island? And I said, Yes. So I went over, you know, one Sunday afternoon and we sat around and talked, and he blatantly says, Will you get involved in my campaign? And being my congressman, I said, More than happy to, and was really, you know, elated to do it.
Consequently, I had ended up in a situation where he said, We have our campaign headquarters set up in Atlanta. Go by. And I says, Can I go up, get on your WATS lines, and start calling some of the supporters that I had put together for Governor Maddox? And got good reception. Got very good reception from the people. Yes. You know, hes young. Hes a U.S. congressman. Make an excellent senator, da-de-da-da-da. So, consequently, we said, Okay, now were off and running. We got we know who we can depend on. Mainly, the organization was pretty much together; it was just rehashing to get em back together because switching the people from Maddox to Stuckey. And, of course, they knew they had a winner in Maddox, so it was easy to switch them over to Stuckey.
So we started to run. And, of course, the big problem with that race, when youve got candy stores running on every major highway in the United States and you say, Can you send $100 for the campaign? Huh? Youve gotta be kidding. You know? Youve got all the money in the world. What do you need my $100 for? And we just couldnt raise money, although the organization was moving along and everything was working fine. You could not have asked for a better organization to fall in place rather rapidly, but the money thing was still turning and, of course, the bill Billy his financials for the United States congressional races came from family money.
And Bill had a horrible situation going. His father would call him in Washington to find out what was going on and Bill wouldnt return the phone calls. So Mr. Stuckey called and he said, Can you get Billy to call me? And I said, Well, hes your son, you know, Mr. Stuckey. Well, he wont return my call. He wont return my call. So, finally, this went on for several months and then Mr. Stuckey gets back on the phone, the father, and says, Id like to see the campaign folks down here in Eastman, and bring Billy with you when you come. So they sent the company plane up to Atlanta and picked up all of us, and Bill flew in from Washington, and we went to Eastman. And, at that time, the father said, Billy, he said, you know this is just getting kind of ridiculous as far as the money coming out of my pocket to run your campaign for U.S. Senate. He says, I will pay any campaign expenses for you to return to the United States Congress, but I wont pay any more for you to run for the Senate.
And, of course, we were at a situation the reason Bill really wanted to run for the Senate we were in the process of doing some redistricting and Billy could have lost a number of support due to that redistricting. So, consequently, Mr. Stuckey laid it out, I want your holdings, and Ill leave the companies nameless that he wanted Billys holdings. Ill finance the United States Senate race; otherwise, the race is gone. And there may have been a 30-second delay and Billy looked there was about five campaign folks there at the table and he said, Race is over. And we said, What do we do? Go back to Atlanta. Shut the headquarters down. Im out of the Senate race. Ill stay in the Congressional race and take my licks where I have to take them. So, with that, we packed up, went back to Atlanta. The following Monday, I was back at St. Simons not involved in politics.
Well, a couple of days later, [chuckling] I get a call from a fellow that I had been in the Jaycees with, a fellow by the name of Richard Ray who was at that time the Mayor of Perry, Georgia. And he said, Ned, I understand that Congressman Stuckey is out of the Senate race. Id like to get you to support our man. I says, And that is Sam Nunn? He said, Sam Nunn. I says, No, I says, Ive had my fill of politics. I said, Seems like I cant I cant keep a candidate. I keep losing em for some reason. And he said, Well, will you come to Atlanta and talk to me? I said, No, I wont do it. And he said, Well, were gonna be at the Georgia Press Association meeting next week. Will you come over at Jekyll and meet with us at Jekyll? And, you know, I knew Richard well and I liked him. Hes a nice guy, you know, and he was a great Jaycee and all this stuff. So I said, Okay, Ill meet yall over there.
Well, when I get I was designated to meet him like 2:00 in the afternoon at the Aquarama. I get to the Aquarama and, of course, tons of press people. And, of course, I knew Richard by face to see, but I didnt know Sam to look and see him, you know. And I look up in the corner in the back corner of the Aquarama (which youre familiar with through Jaycee politics) and there stood Richard and Sam. There wasnt a soul around them, just the two of them standing there. And I thought, Well, thats strange. You know, youve got the Press Association; Id have been out shaking hands with some of the press folks, you know, getting that thing done.
But, long story short, I met with them and Richard said, Consider, please, going up and seeing what, you know, help us out. So, consequently, I went to Atlanta the following week and got on their WATS lines and started calling the Stuckey people. I probably -- less than 5percent said either they werent gonna do it or they werent gonna get involved anymore; theyd had it. But that left 95 percent of them says, Yeah. Nunn? Young guy. Politically active. You know, etc., etc. And, you know, I says, All youve got is one named Stuckey and one named Nunn. Theres really no difference in their politics. Consequently, we had whipped together in a very short time a political, very politically active group for Sam Nunn. I was told and, here again, Im not sure where the word came from at the point in time when we got involved with Stuckeys people, Sam Nunn had less than 1 percent recognition in the state of Georgia and, consequently, everything just whipped together.
Sam was an excellent candidate. Unlike Governor Maddox, you give him a speech, send him to Dalton talking about the carpet business: verbatim periods, semicolons, the whole thing and never changed a word in the speech. He delivered a speech just like it was supposed to be delivered. He was young. Sam was kind of a backward I hate to use the word introvert but he just, he wasnt the Lester Maddox that jumps in there and takes charge. But, you know, thats kind of a little getting used to, but then we had a different type candidate, but a very knowledgeable candidate.
Sam was a student of Georgia history. He was able to go into an area. He was able to elaborate that area, what their main industry was, whether it be peanuts, cotton, corn, you know, carpets, whatever; and I mean he was just a vivacious person who did what he was supposed to do, and he would always come back in. Say, for instance, if he were in Gainesville, he would come back to the headquarters at night and, of course, my show and it was always, you know, when the candidate finally goes to bed, Ill go to bed. I may not be at the campaign headquarters at 6:00 in the morning, but Im gonna be there til midnight or after til the candidate gets in and we find out, you know. In other words, it was a debriefing session, so to speak. And, consequently, Sam would come in, tell us what kind of day he had. The aide that was with him that was traveling with him would tell us what was going on had gone on that day. And if we had any problems that we had to, you know, trouble spots that we had to cover, wed get back with it the next day and talk to the people, our people in that are, our organized people that were heading that particular county up or that area up. And, consequently, it was a lot of follow-up to the thing. We crossed our Ts and dotted our Is I guess is what was said.
SHORT: He was a good candidate. He had other things going for him, however. His main opponent, Senator Gambrell, was supported by Governor Carter who, at that time, had a very low rating in the state.
SHORT: His other opponent was Governor Vandiver who had said no, not one at one time and who had fallen from grace with the Georgia people. Did that ever enter Senator Nunns campaign plans?
YOUNG: Bob, I dont recall that we were looking back at things in the past. We were always looking forward to the next thing that we had to do. I dont know is this is answering your question or not, but I recall at one particular time we needed to we felt like we needed to shore up areas of state. And we had people from all areas of state that we were working with, but we wanted to get the leaders, so to speak. And Ill never forget that we had called a half a dozen of these leaders, asked them if theyd be willing to come to Atlanta for a rap session, that were just gonna knock things around and find out which way we had to go, what we were doing in their area wrong, what we needed to do in their area that we werent doing, and those people it was a very, very good list of folks. We had Marvin Griffin, we had Peter Zack Geer, we had Sam Caldwell, we had Tommy Irvin, and, of course, those were at the time to the labor folks and the agriculture people as far as doing things you need to get done in the area --
SHORT: Strong organization.
YOUNG: They were very strong organizations. And they can touch anybody in the area in which they worked and, of course, Tommy covered the state and so did Sam Caldwell with his organization. But we called that meeting at the, if I recall, the old Atlanta Hotel Atlantan downtown, and we had these people up and we just sat around a room and we fed them lunch and gave them beverages and they would tell us, you know, We need to do this. We had the meeting lasted like all Sunday afternoon, and wed flown them in here. Wed sent planes out to pick them up and flown them back into Atlanta. That night, we dispersed them back to their areas and they went to work.
And, consequently, I know that we had a situation whereby the election was on a Tuesday (and Ive forgotten which election it was, general or primary, whichever the case may be), but we needed to get Sams name out. We had not put out a lot of signs to that point in time, and we had sent out these signs and the whole idea was we needed folks to go out after 10:00 on Saturday night and paper literally paper the state with: Send Sam Nunn to Washington. And, when people got up to go to church on Sunday morning, the brush fire was ignited. For a name that was not synonymous to politics statewide, all at once Sam Nunn was the man. And, consequently, I think that was probably one of the most successful because the primary or whatever the next election was on Tuesday, we went through it, you know, with great, great vigor and it was very successful.
And, of course, we always worked I always believed in starting like out in the area. Say, for instance, if you take Ill take one county, say, in Georgia and you may start like south of Macon, even maybe if you get down around Eastman, and you start a circle in organizing and, as it grew, the last place you would hit would be your metropolitan areas of Fulton/DeKalb Counties. Well, the word was coming in from the outlying districts, Youve got somebody here. Youve got a candidate. Youve got a man. Youve got a winner. And by the time it got up here, the influence of those south Georgia counties would roll over in these metropolitan counties in the Atlanta area where the votes were because, literally, in south Georgia, we got a lot of pine trees and alligators, but we don't have a lot of votes down there. So the whole idea of wed see you could see the growth, the momentum, for the candidate. And 90 percent of the time its been successful.
SHORT: There was a meeting between Sam Nunn and Governor Vandiver prior to the primary in which Nunn agreed to support Vandiver if he were in the runoff, and Vandiver agreed to support Nunn if he were in the runoff. And Nunn made the runoff. Governor Vandiver then, according to his biography, turned and wrote some 100,000 letters to people around the state supporting Nunn. Do you think that helped him?
YOUNG: Bob, I have never been that impressed by endorsements. If you were a candidate and you were my candidate and you ended up I ended up supporting you financially, politically or whatever the case may be, and you told me at the end of that, Well, I lost. How about supporting Sam Jones? Well, Ive given all of my loyalty to you, my money, my vote, etc., but, you know, dont tell me how to vote because whether I like the other guy or not, I just, I dont I dont put a lot of credence in endorsements. I really dont. But, you know, the politicos say it helps but I, you know, everybody has their opinion on that.
SHORT: Well, you get its easy to get endorsements after you win an election, so Sam Nunn, after winning the Democratic Primary, had a pretty good battle on his hands in that General Election with Congressman Fletcher Thompson.
SHORT: Did you participate in that one?
YOUNG: No, I did not. I didnt have I didnt have that much participation into it, other than continuing to make the organization grow because, getting back to this organization situation, once you get your organization, it can be an asset or it can be a liability. And I think youre gonna understand what I mean here when I talk about peaking too early. If the race is in November and you may be happy that your seat won in September, but between September and November anything can happen. And, consequently, if you peak out in that September time, chances are you aint gonna win unless you know how to make your organization work. And its making the thing start, putting it together, getting it rolling, you find out youre moving too fast, then youve got to back off and you get your people, you know, youre on the phone saying, Just hold status quo of what you got. Then when you see that, you know, the ball has caught up, then you need to get the ball rolling again, then you need to get back with your people and tell em, Hey, we need to start moving again. So the ultimate and this was, this situation with Sam, his timing was absolutely immaculate in his races. He peaked out just when he was supposed to. And thats not accidental; thats a purposely working thing.
SHORT: In 1976, Lester Maddox for President opposing Jimmy Carter, former Governor of Georgia, and President Gerald Ford.
YOUNG: Thats correct.
SHORT: You were very active in that campaign.
YOUNG: Yes, I was. As in the Lieutenant Governors race, I was appointed to be the [chuckling] appointed to be the campaign manager for the race. And, consequently, it was kind of messed up from the outset inasmuch as George Wallace was supposed to have assumed the American Independent Partys nomination for the presidency of the United States. And Governor Wallace at the 11th hour seemed fit not to participate, consequently pulled out. We end up it may have been in Indianapolis; Im not sure at the National Convention and, of course, Governor Maddox was, theyd let it be known that, you know, his close personal friend had pulled out of the Presidential race from American Independent Party and that he could be a candidate, you know, if he were told that adequate financing was there and to put on a decent campaign. In fact, we had qualified probably in ten or 12 states. Those states were not like Georgia; I think it took 109- or 110,000 votes or signatures in Georgia to be placed on the ticket. The states that had the 10,000 votes 10,000 signatures we qualified in those states. We had people, organizations in those states that were there by virtue of not so much the candidate, by virtue of the fact the Independent Party and, consequently, they had qualified Governor Maddox in those states.
And, you know, we traveled commercially to these various and sundry states where we were on the ballot. Consequently, it was a situation that once we got to Convention, then thinking that because Governor Wallace had eliminated himself from the run and Governor Maddox was in, that would be an automatic. It wasnt. A floor fight developed at the Convention and it was probably, I hate to say, probably one of the dirtiest things I had ever run into. Here Im, you know, a neophyte politician from the state of Georgia and only been involved in Georgia politics, and now youre running with the big dogs up there who had been doing this stuff most of their life, and, you know, here we are saying, Uh, uh, uh. You know? And thats thats as intelligent as it got.
But we were ultimately successful in getting the nomination of the American Independent Party for President of the United States, with promises that adequate financing would be coming to help finance the campaign which would be housed out of Georgia due to the fact that Lester Maddox was from Georgia. Now here we had two presidential campaigns from the state of Georgia going on at the same time. In fact, Governor Carter was at Colony Square at 14th Street in the high-rise kind of a high-rise building, an office building. We were one block down 14th Street on a place that used to be a restaurant. Consequently, you know, we had plenty of American flags and we had the money never came, by the way; Ill straighten that out. The money never came from the American Independent Party, so we took what little bit of money that we had and bought brochures and were paying for travel to, you know, places that he was on the ballot because there was no use spending money going to any other place. So, consequently, it was a hand-to-mouth campaign and no money, no staff, not really anything but the name and the fact that Lester Maddox was running for President of the United States under the American Independent Party.
SHORT: Well, did he actually think he could win?
YOUNG: Bob, I never thought there was a time in Lester Maddoxs life that he didnt think he couldnt win. If it was there and presented itself, its a doable deal. But, like I said, you know, a situation that, you know, we were struggling with telephone calls and, you know, having to meet telephone, you know, long distance. We didnt have WATS lines, so we were working right off the telephone, you know, a direct dial line type thing. And, you know, it was Governor Maddox always thought anything was possible, but not probable. I think that was the adage that he pretty much hit.
SHORT: In the end, his friend Governor Wallace wound up endorsing Jimmy Carter.
SHORT: What was Governor Maddoxs reaction to that?
YOUNG: You know, Governor Maddox, he would get upset briefly and then hed move on. The mind shifted so much. His mind shifted so much. He had too much too many things going in his mind at one time. And, you know, hed get upset over this now, but then 15 minutes later, theres something else out here that he needs to direct his attention to so, consequently, he never had that much comment because I really never heard him actually say anything really, really derogatory about people. Hed make statements, but, you know, not the fact that you would consider them derogatory. I wish they were not here, or whatever the case may be, you know, he just didnt do that.
SHORT: Ten years later, 1986, Hamilton Jordan for Senate.
SHORT: Youre involved in that one.
YOUNG: Yeah. Probably one of the greatest guys I ever met, even though I had some differences with his old boss due to my affiliation with Governor Maddox. Governor Carter was not one of my favorite people. [Chuckling] Ill put it that way. And it was political. Nothing personal. But it was a situation that Hamilton, coming back from Washington being Chief of Staff for President Carter, ended up in a situation where he decided that the way the politics were falling in the state of Georgia that he could run for the United States Senate and be elected. Unfortunately, this happened and I dont know when this tape will air but within this particular month, which is the month of May, we lost Hamilton to cancer, which he developed during his race for the United States Senate. He developed lymphosarcoma, which is a cancer of the lymph nodes, which had killed a very close friend of ours, a fellow by the name of Malone Sharp, just a couple of years before. But they had found some cure for the lymph node problem in Hamilton, and, consequently, from the date he was diagnosed initially with cancer until he died, 22 years elapsed that he had 22 more years of his life so he developed the lymph node problem in his 40s and died in his 60s.
But the problem there, Hamilton was a good candidate. Hamilton knew how to politic. He knew where the bones were buried. he knew what he had to do. But the problem, it goes back to the same situation we ran into with Stuckey: money. Once the word was out that Hamilton had the lymph node problems, people just in my estimation; nobody ever told me this, but it was very obvious that people would not put money on a horse that cant finish a race. And, consequently, this was ultimately the problem; we just were under-financed and just could not overcome the fact of his health problem and, consequently, it was -- he was defeated.
SHORT: His opponent was Senator Wyche Fowler...
SHORT: ...from Atlanta who had defeated Mack Mattingly for the job and turned around and lost it to Paul Coverdell, another Republican, which seemed to me to be the beginning of the downfall of the Democratic Party in Georgia. Lets talk about that for a minute. What do you think has brought on the rise of the Republican Party in Georgia?
YOUNG: Probably the problems with the Democratic Party nationally. You know, people in Georgia (and Ive heard it so many times) and youre talking to a yellow dog here, a yellow dog Democrat; Ive never voted Republican ticket in my life. Never worked for a Republican in my life. And people says, Well, you worked in politics. Surely, the Republicans must have offered you something. I said, Yeah, it wasnt really what I was looking for in politics. Money doesnt make the difference. You know, youve got, especially in your younger life, you have these things that you believe in and, you know, youve got to believe in it to get out there and really work and hustle for your candidate. You know? And this thing, as far as the National Democratic Party, you know, thats there, and then theres the Georgia Democratic Party which dont see eye-to-eye. Does not see eye-to-eye. Consequently, a lot of the people, rather than say, Im a Democrat, it was easier to say, I used to be a Democrat. Now Im a Republican. Because of, you know, the onset of Ronald Reagan and his politics, Barry Goldwater and his politics, consequently, they were looking at a conservative element, of which the Georgia Democrats have always been conservative, but it was I guess easier to switch than fight, so to speak. And so it was either say, Im a Republican, Im a Georgia Democrat, but Ill vote the Republican ticket.
SHORT: In 1962, there was one Republican in the Georgia Senate. He was from Gilmer County up in north Georgia. The Republicans took over the Georgia Senate in 1992. Thats, what, thats 30 years. It took the Republicans 30 years to become the majority in the Georgia Senate.
SHORT: Two years later, because of switches and people who say they used to be a Democrat and now theyre a Republican, gave the Republican Party the majority in the House of Representatives. But during that 30-year span, the Democrats continued to hold power in the Georgia Legislature, despite the fact that the Republican Party had taken over the entire South. Why do you think it took so long?
YOUNG: Well, people generally, whether it be politics, jobs, working in the job-place, whatever the case may be, dont like institutional change. And, you know, you have some strong folks under the dome Tom Murphy, folks like that who actually controlled their niche in that political field there. And as those people die out or get beat, most of them, you know, will end up getting beat; but where it narrows down, then you have the new folks coming on and so a lot of my friends had made the switch for political reasons. I cant run as a Democrat next time. Even though its a legislative thing, two years, I cant run next time as a Democrat and Ive been a Democrat all of my life. I cant run as a Democrat and get elected. So rather than staying where theyre at and taking the chance of losing that seat, they switch. And, you know, I lost a lot of respect for these people. Of course, its their life; they do what they want to do. I dont control anybodys life except mine, and I have a hard time doing that from time to time. But its the situation that, you know, now theyve turned around and have bitten the hand that has fed them and put them where theyre at. They got there, but they didnt stay with the person that brung em to the dance.
SHORT: Do you agree that the charge that the state Democratic Party is too minority controlled and too close to organized labor?
YOUNG: Thats a difficult question, Bob. That could be two reasons for a switch, but is it the real reason that prompted them to go off on another path? I think, you know, they went off on another path because theyre selfish. They didnt want to give up what they had and they knew if they stayed where they were at, there was a possibility they were gonna have to give it up. But they didnt if theyd stayed in strength, it may not have happened, but it splintered off so much, and the Republicans are very good about splintering off. Lets get this guy here. Well get this guy here. Well get this guy over here today. Well get this guy tomorrow. Next week, well get this group back here, etc. And all at once, the bond that the Democratic Party had in Georgia all these years had been splintered away to where it was nothing. Now the Republicans appear to be in the same problem that the Democrats have done in the past. You know, the Democrats are (and Im talking like a Democrat now), theyre making a little comeback and I think the comeback, you know, it aint gonna come in November. It may not come in four years in November. But I think the Democrats are starting to play the same game that the Republicans played all those years to get to be where theyre at now where theyre in the minority, because when youre in the minority in the majority, pardon when youre in the majority, youre open for criticism. The minority is never criticized, only the majority, and the majority being there are gonna make mistakes and, consequently, the whittling starts.
SHORT: What do you think are the main issues among Georgia voters today?
YOUNG: [Chuckling] In this particular day, its gasoline. The economy. Its the economy. You know, I travel around not extensively, but considerably, and, you know, I see people who restaurants are having problems. You know, people have got to, you know, to buy gasoline for their car to get to work, to eat at home, and bring groceries home and feed the family. You know, Ive seen and surprising this trip up, Im finding places that are economically quick food franchises (and I dont know whether I can mention the franchise or not). Kentucky Fried Chicken, there are a lot of these places closing. You can eat, you know, and Im this is not a commercial for Kentucky Fried Chicken but, you know, its a very economical place to take your wife and two children and have dinner or go get it and take it home and eat it, whatever the case may be. But your theaters seem to be falling back. Your restaurants are falling back. People just cant afford it because I just left Atlanta at $4.17 for a gallon of regular gasoline. Thats ridiculous. Thats ridiculous. But its there. The signs up. They got it in the ground and they probably got it for considerably less, but theyre selling it for $4.17. Either buy it or dont buy it. And, consequently, the economys gonna be the big thing.
SHORT: Ill bet you youd get a lot of votes if you could tell us how to solve that problem.
YOUNG: If I could solve that problem, I probably wouldnt be sitting here today. Id be out working to solve the problem. But, like I said, you know and youre getting a lot of lip service out of the federal government about, you know, Now were going to take all the corn that we used to feed to people and make gasoline out of it. But, and as I pulled up to a pump in Atlanta and paid $4.17 for a gallon of gas, I found out that 10 percent of it was corn. And I didnt think the corn was grown here and not in some Middle Eastern country. So, consequently, you know, but the gas didnt go down. In fact, it jumped, you know, from where me leaving Savannah paying $3.85 to coming to Atlanta paying $4.17 a gallon.
SHORT: Who was the easiest candidate you ever supported?
YOUNG: Beyond a doubt, Sam Nunn.
SHORT: Why do you say that?
YOUNG: Sam Sam was a good politician. You tell him what to do [chuckling] and I hate to use this vernacular, you could wind him up and point him in that corner and he went straight to that corner. Hes not gonna deviate and go to another corner. He was just, you know, he did he paid his staff to tell him what to do to get elected. And I was part of that, part of that staff. Some fellow from Dallas, Texas, by the name of Ed Sieb who they hired and brought in and I was pulled into the race with Sieb and we had another cohort which I understand was on this program not long ago by the name of Norman Underwood. And he was dispatched to the Nunn campaign from the Sanders law firm.
YOUNG: But, like I said, Sam, beyond a doubt. The fatherly image was portrayed to me by Lester Maddox. I couldnt have asked a father to have done more for me, and the thing of it is a lot of people, Bob, who work in these campaigns are expecting after the campaigns are over, you know, I want to do this. I want to do that. I want to be this. I want to be, you know, transportation chairman, you know, whatever the case may be. Some relatively high-paying job with a lot of prestige. Ill never forget Governor Maddox asked me after the first governors race, he says, What do you want out of my administration? And I said, Four years of good government. And he looked at me and he says, What? And I said, Four years of good government. And he said, Well, you know, we have positions involved and Ill need people like you to come and work. I said, Governor, I have a family. I have a business. I have a home on St. Simons Island, Georgia. And as soon as you tell me, 'Youre outta here', Im back home. And thats exactly what I did.
Same way with Senator Nunn. I stayed with him a little, you know, for a while not long, but after he was elected. And I, you know, I cleaned out my office, cleaned out my hotel room, and went back to my family and my business in Brunswick and St. Simons.
SHORT: Well, youve certainly had an interesting career, and we thank you for appearing with us, Ned, on this version of Reflections on Georgia Politics.
YOUNG: Bob, I appreciate the invitation and good luck on future programs.
[END OF RECORDING]