UCLA Library acquires papers of campaign strategist Garry South

Los Angeles, California - Called "the Carville of California" by the New York Times, Democratic political consultant Garry South has donated his extensive campaign archives to the UCLA Library.

Offering unique insight into the political process, the collection, which features materials from three of California Gov. Gray Davis' campaigns for statewide office, testifies to the secretive, arcane art of crafting successful campaign strategies and is thought to be one of the most complete campaign archives in existence.

South managed Davis' campaigns for California lieutenant governor in 1994 and governor in 1998 and 2002; advised on campaigns for Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and Joe Lieberman; and has had an extensive career in Democratic Party politics. For Davis' 1998 gubernatorial campaign, South was named “Campaign Manager of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants, an honor he shares with Karl Rove, James Carville and the late Lee Atwater.

"We are honored to accept this unique and timely collection," said UCLA University Librarian Gary E. Strong. "Broad public knowledge about campaign operations is essential in a healthy democracy, and we look forward to making these materials widely accessible to students, scholars and the general public."

The collection contains research files, correspondence, campaign materials, poll data and clippings, as well as recordings of commercials, news coverage and debates. Of particular note are extensive research files on Davis' opponents in primaries or general elections, including Al Checchi, Jane Harman, Dan Lungren, Bill Simon and Richard Riordan.

South has also given the UCLA Library the copyright to the materials so that they can be digitized and made available for nonprofit educational and informational uses. The collection is housed in UCLA Library Special Collections.

"I am delighted to donate my campaign archives to such a world-class facility as the UCLA Library," South said. "Too many campaign documents routinely end up in the dumpster or shredder after the election. As someone with a degree in American history, I thought it was important to make these materials permanently available for study by those seeking to better understand the campaign process."

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 2 p.m., the UCLA Library will host a panel discussion featuring South and UCLA professors Jeffrey B. Lewis, Mark A. Peterson and Lynn Vavreck. The panelists will offer inside details on "how the sausage is made" in political campaigns and discuss the importance of public knowledge about campaign operations in a healthy democratic society.

The event is co-sponsored by the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Admission is free, but space is limited; R.S.V.P. to 310-206-8526 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Additional information