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In 1974 the Democrat was sold to WEHCO Media Inc., owned by the Hussman family. Hussman embarked on a campaign of major cost reductions and concentrating subscription effort on the Little Rock urban market. By 1977 Hussman attempted to reach an agreement with the Gazette to combine operations but his overtures were rejected.Hussman vigorously fought back and was intent on making the Democrat the state's largest newspaper. The Democrat expanded its news operation, offered free classified advertisements, and switched from afternoon publication to morning publication.
In more recent times, the current Democrat-Gazette editorial cartoonist, John Deering, and his wife Cathy created a bronze sculpture of the Nine, entitled Testament, on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol. At the time of Hussman's arrival the morning Gazette was far in front of the afternoon Democrat, with daily circulation 118,702 to the Democrat's 62,405.In 1979 Hussman appointed John Robert Starr to the position of managing editor.The fiery and irascible Starr temperament and intent in the upcoming circulation war was humorously illustrated by a cover story in the monthly magazine Arkansas Times showing Starr squatting atop a Gazette newspaper box with a dagger between his teeth to show his seriousness.During the Reconstruction years a competitor arose called by a variety of names, under a variety of editors, and with several different owners. The Gazette and the Democrat engaged in a war of words that soon escalated into an exchange of gunfire between the owner of the Democrat and a part-owner of the Gazette.Over the years the Gazette and the Democrat supported opposing candidates and took opposite editorial positions.In the 1840s Woodruff lost control of the paper and established a competing paper, the Arkansas Democrat (not related to the later Democrat).
In 1850, after the Gazette had briefly failed under its new owners, Woodruff regained control and combined it with his Democrat as the Arkansas State Gazette and Democrat.
Throughout the simmering battle the Gazette continued to be the dominant state newspaper.
The Gazette was owned and edited by John Netherland Heiskell who guided it with a firm hand through most of the twentieth century.
In 1926, August Engel acquired a major interest in the Democrat.
He became the newspaper's president and general manager, leading it through a period of great growth over the next 43 years.
Counts also helped arrange the public reconciliation of Eckford and Massery in 1997.