News that Guilford County District Attorney Doug Henderson would not seek another term this year spun through Melvin Municipal Building before making the pages of the Rhino Times on Valentine’s Day. And as of press time, just two candidates have filed to fill the vacuum.
See more about these candidates, both women, on page 8.
And we need to know: Where the hell is everybody?
They’re lining up three and five deep to battle it out in North Carolina’s redrawn US Congressional districts and the state legislature. Last year, Greensboro City Council had the biggest slate of candidates it’s had this century.
All across the country, they’ve emerged from women’s marches and Black Lives Matter: Senate, Congress, county commissions and city councils and school boards. The movements these issues have brought forward have toppled companies, driven things from the shadows, changed, each in its own small way, the world.
So where, we ask, are all the candidates in the Guilford DA race?
Remember, the DA determines whether a police officer will be charged for taking a civilian life (talking to you, BLM) and the manner and frequency with which sexual crimes are pursued (ahem, ladies). The office prosecutes all crime on the county in “all criminal and some juvenile matters,” according to the state website, and as well as “advising law enforcement officers in the district,” which in this case includes the Greensboro and High Point police departments and the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.
The district attorney sets the timbre of law enforcement and safety in her district, in much the same way that Attorney General Jeff Sessions does for the federal government, establishing priorities, procedures and a culture that permeates all the way down to the cops on the street.
And the requirements for office are ridiculously simple: One need only be a registered voter in the county, at least 21 years old and licensed to practice law with the NC Bar.
But it’s too late. Filing is closed for one of the most consequential positions in local government, with neither ceremony nor fanfare, like a short meeting that could have been handled by email.
And the opportunity won’t come up again for another four years.