Former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, a North Carolina Republican who became an icon to conservatives, died Friday at age 86, the Jesse Helms Center said.
Helms once said his job was to derail the freight train of liberalism.
Conservatives admired him for his opposition to abortion and what he called “indecent art,” while liberals accused him of using race as a wedge issue to defeat black opponents.
The Jesse Helms Center, a private foundation in Wingate, North Carolina, announced on its Web site that Helms died at 1:15 a.m. Friday in Raleigh.
I hope he’s greeted at the Pearly Gates by Matthew Shepard and Thurgood Marshall.