Wallace Hyde, the Democrats' big guy dies

Staff writerJanuary 15, 2013 

Wallace Hyde, a Raleigh businessman, who a major Democratic Party fundraiser for decades died Monday after a long illness. He was 89.

Hyde was a major fundraiser such Tar Heel Democrats as Jim Hunt and John Edwards, and for such national Democrats as Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale and Al Gore.

He was such an insider that he watched the 1984 convention from inside Mondale's San Francisco hotel room. But the cigar-smoking Hyde was particularly close to Gore, who helped arrange for his wife, Jeanette to be named U.S. Ambassador to Barbados.

Hyde, a Graham County country boy, rose in politics during the 1960 campaign of Terry Sanford. He was a protege of Winston-Salem oil jobber Bert Bennett, who built the political organization that was instrumental in electing Sanford and Hunt governor. After Sanford was elected governor, Bennett became Democratic Party chairman and Hyde became party executive director.

“Robert Kennedy once said the three most important things in politics are money, money, and money,” pollster Harrison Hickman once remarked.

“There are a lot of people who talk a good game of fund raising,” Hickman said. “He is one of the few people who walk the walk. He really produces for people whom he gets behind. I don't know of anybody in North Carolina who can produce the money that he can.''

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