Carter’s “Peanut Brigade” Organizer Passes Away

( – The cousin of the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter; Hugh “Sonny” Carter Jr. has passed away at the age of 80. “Sonny” Carter was a key behind the scenes player in the upset path to victory that enabled Jimmy Carter to reach the White House. 

Hugh Carter was an organizer of what was then termed Jimmy Carter’s “Peanut Brigade.” The strategy behind this ‘brigade’ was Jimmy Carter personnel would deploy and fan out in different areas of a state and speak with as many voters as possible. After which they would convene to discuss the concerns and worries of the electorate. Jimmy Carter would then address these issues specifically on the campaign trail. The team deployed this strategy in the early primary states in 1976 and created the pathway for the Georgia governor to win his party’s nomination before capturing the White House. 

Once elected president, Jimmy Carter tasked Hugh Carter with finding waste within the White House and then cutting expenses wherever possible. Hugh Carter was so proficient in this area staffers dubbed him “Cousin Cheap.” Jason Carter, the grandson of the former president, more diplomatically said his cousin performed a service by “skillfully” implementing “zero-based budgeting” to Jimmy Carter’s White House. Hugh Carter is said to have cut White House magazine subscriptions, raised the air-conditioner thermostat and limited legal pad purchasing. Hugh noted that in the big picture these are small cuts but they helped his cousin deliver on his promise to make the presidency less imperious and entitled. 

Hugh Carter was a United States Army veteran, a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology as well as the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Hugh was accused to being a ‘nepotism hire’ which he disputed by saying he was a “normal staff person” despite any familial relation he was “treated no differently.” After the White House, Hugh Carter owned The Darby Printing Company for 27 years before selling it in 2013. Hugh “Sonny” Carter Jr. is survived by his wife of 44 years Glenna, their three daughters and three grandchildren.

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