Barton Welcomes Hunt and Pearce for “Jim Hunt: A Biography” Book Signing To Be Held on Monday, Nov. 8

WILSON, N.C. – Barton College will welcome Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., and author Gary Pearce for a book signing for “Jim Hunt, A Biography,” soon to be released by John F. Blair, Publisher.  The book signing will be held on Monday, Nov. 8, in the Bridgestone Americas Atrium of the Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre from 6-8 p.m.  At approximately 7 p.m., Governor Hunt and Pearce will make brief remarks and take questions from the audience.

Books will be available for sale at $23.95 each, plus tax.

About the book –

In the 1950s, Jim Hunt was a farm boy from rural eastern North Carolina with no money and no big-name political family behind him. Fifty years later, he had become the state’s longest-serving governor, serving four terms over three decades.

Jim Hunt redefined the role of governor in North Carolina. During his tenure, he transformed a poor, rural state dependent on tobacco and textiles into a center for high finance and high-tech industry. He became widely known for his initiatives in education and his progressive leadership in a conservative state. Now, Gary Pearce brings us Hunt’s story in the only authorized biography of the governor, to be published November 15, 2010.

As one of Hunt’s closest political advisers, Pearce was in a unique position to observe his career. He started working with Hunt during his first race for governor in 1976 and served him as press secretary, chief speechwriter, and political and policy adviser through four gubernatorial administrations and five statewide campaigns. In “Jim Hunt: A Biography,” Pearce draws from his own observations and experience with Hunt to offer a view from inside the political wars. “No one else worked with him as closely or as long as I did, and no one had the access to him I had,” says Pearce. “I tell what it was like to be in some of the most hard-fought and bitter political battles in the country.” He also conducted over 30 interviews with Hunt and more than 50 interviews with friends, family, staffers, political allies, and opponents.

“Jim Hunt: A Biography” traces Hunt’s career – the journey of a progressive politician during a time of unprecedented economic, social, and racial change in North Carolina. The book also offers a front-row account of the bitter U.S. Senate race between Hunt and Jesse Helms in 1984, a battle, which Hunt lost. Pearce offers behind-the-scenes glimpses at strategy discussions, the role of racial politics, and Hunt’s dilemma over how to handle Helms’ negative television ads.

Hunt was able to recover from that devastating defeat to win two more terms as governor. And, after he left the governor’s office, Hunt plunged into good works, among them the

James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, which focuses on educating governors and legislators across the country on how to improve public education, and the Institute for Emerging Issues and the Emerging Issues Forum at North Carolina State University, his alma mater.

Over the years, Hunt has come to be seen less as a politician and more as a statesman. One observer told him, “You’re the one person in the state who can rally everybody around a cause.” Though Hunt is no longer in office, his influence continues to shape North Carolina’s educational system, economic future and political scene today.

About the author –

Gary Pearce has lived his life at the crossroads of journalism and politics.

The son of a printer, he delivered the “Raleigh (N.C.) Times” as a boy. When he turned 16, he got a job as a newsroom copyboy at the News & Observer in Raleigh. He began working nights and weekends as a copyeditor while attending North Carolina State University.

After college, Pearce stayed on at the “News & Observer” in a series of reporting and editing jobs. By 1975, he was covering state politics and the legislature, including then-Lieutenant Governor Jim Hunt. That year, Hunt offered him a job as press secretary in his first campaign for governor. Drawn to politics, Pearce decided to take a one-year “flier” with the campaign. It turned into a lifelong career.

Through four gubernatorial administrations and five statewide campaigns, Pearce worked as Governor Hunt’s press secretary, speechwriter, political/policy adviser, campaign co-director, and chief campaign consultant. He also edited Hunt’s 1999 book, First in America: An Education Governor Challenges North Carolina. Pearce says today that-of all the roles he played for Hunt and the millions of words he wrote for him-his proudest accomplishment is coming up with the name Smart Start for Hunt’s signature early-childhood program.

After Hunt’s unsuccessful race for the United States Senate in 1984, Pearce began a career as a media and government-relations consultant to corporations, nonprofit organizations, and Democratic politicians. Over the years, he has worked with political figures including Terry Sanford, John Edwards, Erskine Bowles, and Dennis Wicker.

In addition to his consulting work, Pearce publishes a blog at He and his wife, Gwyn, divide their time between Raleigh and Nags Head, North Carolina. They have two children, James and Maggie.


Questions?  Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: