To Jesse Helms, politics and ideology were simple, black and white. He saw it as right versus wrong, good versus evil. His slogan for the 1972 Senate campaign was “He’s one of us.” It appeared in television ads and in flyers distributed around the state….
It also implied that the opponent was not “one of us”. It was criticised by many newspaper editorials and by the Democratic Party as an open appeal to racism. His opponent accused Helms of trying to divide North Carolinians. “He’s using an ‘us versus them’ mentality,” one local Democrat said. Who did he mean by “them”? Blacks? Liberals? War Protestors? Probably all of the above.
(In 1990,while running against a black opponent) Helms and his media consultant, Alex Castellanos, created the ad that has come to be known as the “White Hands” spot. The ad- which very likely sewed up the race for Helms- showed the arms and hands of a white male opening, then crumpling up, a rejection letter. An announcer says, “You need that job, and you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota. Is that really fair? Havey Gantt says it is. Gannt supports Ted Kennedy’s racial quota law that make the color of your skin more important than your qualifications. You’ll vote on this issue next Tuesday. For racial quotas, Harvey Gantt. Against racial quotas, Jesse Helms.”
This ad really struck a chord with North Carolina voters, as Helms began moving up in the polls immediataely after it started airing.
— “Mudslingers: The Twenty-Five Dirtiest Political Campaigns of All Time” – Kerwin Swint