Jimmy Carter photo

Letter to Friends Prior to Announcing Presidential Candidacy

December 04, 1974

My Dear Friend: Before the official announcement is made on December 12, I would like you to know that I intend to seek the Democratic nomination and election as President of the United States in 1976.

You may have anticipated this news. Some national political forecasters repeatedly predict that a governor will win the nomination, and my name has often been mentioned as a strong possibility.

I would not enter this formidable race if I did not believe that I can win; but neither would I run for President without a deep conviction that I can make an essential contribution to the U.S. Government and the people it serves.

In my 4 years as governor and in travels throughout the country, I have listened to many people who are frustrated and dissatisfied with government. They feel alienated from the decision making process. They are troubled by the dishonesty of public officials. They deplore the absence of effective business management in government. They are bewildered by shortages and runaway inflation. With good reason, they have lost faith in federal programs that waste their taxes while the needs of the people go unmet.

I believe that the problems which plague our people can be solved with bold, competent, honest leadership.

With the support of many dedicated Georgians, we have proved in our state that government can be responsive, practical, and fair.

We brought closed meetings out into the open. We adopted efficient, dollar-saving methods of organization, budgeting, and planning. We reduced bureaucratic red tape and increased services. We proved that government can be sensitive to the needs of the individual.

I think that you will agree that those principles of reform are needed at the national level. With help from you and thousands of other concerned Americans, I intend to take them to Washington.

Some people might say that we face an impossible task. They have overlooked several important facts.

First, the voters want a President who will address the issues with truth, openness, and common sense. I will never disappoint them.

Secondly, people are disillusioned with officials in Washington. They are looking for a new face, a new leader whose ideas work.

By announcing early, our campaign will gain prominent exposure in the news media. Already I have support from thousands of people across the country. The number will grow as news of the campaign spreads.

Also, during the next 2 years, I will be able to devote all my time to the race, while other governors and senators will have to sacrifice their campaign efforts to duties of office. Or vice versa.

People are eager to see a candidate who will talk with them—not to them—at the factory, the supermarket, the service station. I plan to take my campaign to the people, just as I did in Georgia, and with as much success.

Finally, the person who works hardest usually wins. Nobody will work harder than I will.

But I need your support. A nationwide campaign is a rigorous and expensive undertaking. I will not have the financial backing of selfish special interests or powerful contributors. I don't want it. They rarely make extravagant contributions to political campaigns without expecting something in return.

I must rely on assistance from thousands of people like you, whose only request from government is that it be fair to all.

I ask for that assistance now. As Rosalynn, my family, and I embark on the first stages of the campaign, we need your financial aid. We need your prayers and the confidence that comes from knowing friends like you are backing us in our efforts.

It won't be easy. You know that, and I know that. But we also know what can be accomplished when people are determined, untiring, and dedicated to high purpose.

With your help, I'd like to see this country return to the high standards and ideals on which it was founded.

I will deeply appreciate your participating in this campaign—your comments, suggestions, contributions, or pledge. May I hear from you soon? Thank you.


Jimmy Carter.

Jimmy Carter, Letter to Friends Prior to Announcing Presidential Candidacy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347535

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