Campaign donors’ checks really were in the mail

“North Carolina’s Governor Luther Hodges, a courtly textileman who came out of retirement to enter public life four years ago, likes to keep his books straight. Assured of re-election after romping through the May 26 primary with a record 401,082 votes, popular Democrat Hodges last week proceeded to clear up his accounts with a businesslike gesture that sent chills through other politicians across the country.

“His renomination campaign, the governor announced candidly, had cost 25% less than the $40,000 raised for his campaign fund. Each of the 329 contributors, with the exception of himself, his wife and a tiny band of close advisers, would get a 25% refund. Said Hodges after the checks were mailed out: ‘It occurred to me that this was the only proper thing to do.’ ”

— From Time magazine, June 25, 1956