Carter optimistic, waits at home in Plains


PLAINS, Ga., Nov. 2, 1976 (UPI)-Jimmy Carter came home early today to vote, saying "I ran a good race" and grinning with optimism that he would succeed in ousting President Ford from the White House.

After closing his campaign by seeking a last-minute surge in Ford's home state of Michigan, Carter arrived in Plains well past midnight but decided to cast his ballot as soon as the polls opened at 7 a.m., just as he has in the past.


"I'm glad it's over," he said, clearly relaxed and apparently confident he would win his 22-month-long 500,000-mile battle for the presidency despite a string of recent setbacks.

Carter planned to speak in late afternoon outside the abandoned white frame train depot that was his headquarters during the campaign, and then go to an Atlanta hotel tonight to await election returns with his family and top aides.

Chatting informally with a few reporters on the flight home, Carter said, "my gut reaction" was that he would not suffer any serious political losses as a result of a decision by fellow deacons in his Baptist church to refuse to admit black members.

Carter, plainly worried about that yesterday, interrupted his campaigning in California to hold a special news conference to declare that he abhorred the church policy on racial matters but would stay in the church to try to end discrimination.


A short time later, Coretta King and other black leaders reaffirmed their support for Carter and called for his election.

From California, where he fought for the state's 45 electoral votes, Carter raced cross-country to join his running mate, Sen. Walter Mondale, in Michigan to appeal for the 21 electoral votes at stake there.

At a crowded rally in a labor union hall in Flint, more than 7,000 persons repeatedly roared approval as Carter fired a last broad attack at Ford's record, focusing heavily on the economy and declaring over and over, that "it's time for a change in Washington."

To the end, Carter also warned his supporters everywhere that today's race would be "very close" and exhorted them to get out the vote.

Carter was counting on his Southern stronghold, including Texas, plus New York and two or three of the big industrial states such as Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio or California, to lift him over the 270 electoral vote mark needed for election.

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