I’m writing this on Tuesday, Election Day, but there’s no election in my coverage area for various reasons.
Normally I work on Election Day. When the paper came out on Wednesdays, we’d run production in the morning and hold the news section until midnight, filing what results we could for the morning’s edition.
As often as not I’d watch returns come in with a crowd at the old Guilford Courthouse building, sometimes in county commission chambers and sometimes in the smaller Blue Room downstairs, a quaint Greensboro tradition that makes gathering quotes and photos of winning and losing candidates an easy task for a reporter on deadline.
That’s where I was in 2007 when Yvonne Johnson became the first Black Mayor of Greensboro. And I was there when she got beat by Bill Knight two years later.
I cornered a local election handicapper that day at the Bluford voting precinct, G-74, and learned more from him about the Greensboro City Council election in one hour than I had in five years of covering it.
After reporting the 2008 election in which Barack Obama became president, I got drunk on the air during a live podcast held in the front window of Elsewhere.
I got fired on Election Day in 2013, unceremoniously and on the spot. I left the building for the last time just as my team was supposed to go out and hit the precincts for the Winston-Salem and Greensboro elections.
That was the year a 21-year-old Derwin Montgomery unseated longtime a Winston-Salem City Council incumbent in the September primary by more than 35 points by tapping his fellow Winston-Salem State University students to early vote. By Election Day, his ascendance to the East Ward seat was a foregone conclusion.
On Election Day 2014, I was reporting at the Kay Hagan event when she officially lost her Senate seat to Thom Tillis. “I was in the house when the house burned down,” I like to say.
I brought my notebook to a Guilford County GOP event at the Greensboro Shrine Club on election night in 2016. When it became clear that Donald Trump was going to win, all the dumb ones gathered around the bar to do shots while all the smart ones stood silently staring at the returns projected on a screen, arms crossed and touching their faces.
I don’t want to talk about 2020. And I don’t want to think about 2022. Not yet. Tonight I will enjoy just the second election night I have had off since 2005. Who cares who wins.