New Bedford’s Bizarre Connection to President Jimmy Carter
In 1976, little-known one-term Georgia Governor and Democrat James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. came calling on the Whaling City. A political dark horse, Carter visited New Bedford looking for votes for President of the United States.
Carter was born on October 1, 1924, in Plains, Georgia. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1946 and then joined the United States Navy, serving in the submarine service.
Carter married Rosalyn Smith in 1946. The couple had three sons, Jack, James III, and Donnell, and a daughter, Amy.
After the Navy and before his election to the Georgia State Senate in 1963, Carter revived his family's peanut-growing business. He was elected Governor of Georgia in 1970 and served until 1975.
Republican Vice President Gerald Ford ascended to the presidency when Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace on August 9, 1974. After years of war and political scandal, Americans were ready for a change.
That change would be a virtual unknown named Jimmy Carter.
Carter's campaign for the Democrat presidential nomination brought him to New Bedford. Carter campaigned on the waterfront and in the downtown area before moving on. WBSM's Jim Phillips covered Carter's appearance.
Carter defeated Ford in the Fall of 1976 but only served one term before losing a re-election bid to Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980.
On October 15, 1980, Carter flew to Massachusetts for a campaign fundraiser. He was greeted at Logan Airport by then-Governor Ed King, Boston Mayor Kevin White, and Rep. Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, Jr., Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
According to the White House Daily Diary of President Jimmy Carter, the group arrived at the now-defunct Anthony's Pier 4 Restaurant on Boston's waterfront at 12:32 p.m.
Five minutes later, the president attended a "reception for sponsors of Massachusetts Democratic National Committee Fundraising Luncheon" – in the restaurant's New Bedford Room.