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Professor has book published on Jimmy Carter's 1976 Florida primary win

Clay Ouzts book
UNG professor of history Clay Ouzts tweaked his dissertation on Jimmy Carter's 1976 Florida primary victory to turn it into the book "Showdown in the South: Jimmy Carter and the 1976 Florida Democratic Primary."

Dr. Clay Ouzts' dissertation on the 1976 Florida Democratic primary sat on the shelf for almost two decades after he earned his doctoral degree from Florida State University.

When the UNG professor of history got a call from Sentry Press a few years ago asking him to make changes to turn it into a book, Ouzts jumped at the chance. The result was "Showdown in the South: Jimmy Carter and the 1976 Florida Democratic Primary."

The book breaks down how Carter's primary win in Florida against George Wallace and Scoop Jackson propelled him to the Democratic nomination and eventually the White House.

Ouzts' mentor, William Warren Rogers, had originally encouraged Ouzts to write about the 1976 Democratic primary for his dissertation at Florida State. Ouzts didn't want to, but he did it anyway.

"The more I got into it, the more I liked it," Ouzts said.

He noted how a win by Carter, a centrist, moved the Democratic Party away from the segregationist policies espoused by Wallace.

In one of the chapters, "Flirting with the fringe," Ouzts explores how playing to the fringes of the Democratic Party — George McGovern, who won one state in the 1972 presidential election, on one side and Wallace on the other — was not a winning strategy for Democrats.

"Carter won because he was a centrist between two fringes," Ouzts said.

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