The resignation of Alan Duncan as a member of the Guilford County Board of Education and as the Democratic at-large candidate for that seat creates an interesting dynamic.

Maybe Republican at-large school board candidate Marc Ridgill knew something nobody else did when he filed to run. With Duncan as his opponent, Ridgill had almost no chance of winning, but as things stand now, Ridgill has to be considered the favorite because he’s the only one in the race.

Ridgill is going to have an opponent, but it is up to the Executive Committee of the Guilford County Democratic Party to decide who that opponent will be, and whoever it is Ridgill still has a big head start. He’s been out and about shaking hands and drumming up support since last February when he filed, and whoever he runs against is going to have to make up some ground.

The Democratic Party actually has two appointments to make. They need to appoint someone to finish out Duncan’s term and a candidate to run in the November election. It doesn’t have to be the same person, but it would make a lot more sense if it were. Being an incumbent even for a couple of months is an advantage in an election, but it’s late to be putting together a campaign for the November election. If the Democrats select someone without much name recognition, then they will have a tough uphill battle. But in countywide races Democrats have an advantage.

All in all it has turned what was going to be a pretty boring race into one that should be highly competitive.

*****

 

I have a new theory about our daily newspaper. I think the owner, Berkshire Hathaway, is attempting to drive circulation down to give them the justification they need to fold the News & Record into the Winston-Salem Journal. For some reason they like the WSJ better than the N&R, and since they have closed the press down here and are selling the property, it’s not going to go the other way.

If you look at some of their moves in that light, it all falls into place. Susan Ladd writing an ultraliberal column full of misinformation on the front page – at least 10 people told me that was the final straw for them, so they may have been able to trim their circulation by thousands with that one move. When all the folks who were going to cancel because of Ladd had done so, they dropped her.

Then you have replacing Doug Clark with Steve Doyle. Clark was a fairly innocuous left-leaning moderate. Doyle is a far left liberal who makes things up to try and prove his point. He’s Susan Ladd on steroids.

And you have the otherwise inexplicable obsession with Rockingham County. The vast majority of the circulation is in Guilford County, so why would the N&R devote the front page of its Sunday edition week after week to Rockingham County? The majority of the people in Guilford County don’t care anymore about Rockingham County than they do about Pasquotank or Perquimans, but you never see those counties on the front page.

Look at how the corporate types are using the eight or nine reporters they have at the N&R. They have one dedicated to higher education. Most people in Greensboro have little interest in what the UNCG board of trustees does.

They have reporters covering arts, Rockingham County, the environment, business, religion and who knows what else. But what they don’t have is a reporter covering Greensboro and Guilford County governments or the Guilford County courts.

To top it all off, they have stopped paying any attention to their circulation. It used to that be if your paper didn’t get delivered, the N&R would send someone by with a paper later in the morning. No more. If they miss you, too bad. I predict they will increase subscription rates soon, shedding a little more circulation.

There are actually at least two possibilities. One is that the corporate people running the newspaper operations for BH Media know nothing about the newspaper business and the other is that they know a lot about the business and are following a plan that the readers may not like but appears to be a reasonable business solution to a tricky problem.

I prefer to think that they know exactly what they are doing.