Loose Lips

Bowser Opts Out of WAMU Appearance With Catania

The mayoral race is starting to pick up again after a sleepy few weeks, but don't expect to hear leading contenders Muriel Bowser and David Catania face off on the airwaves soon. LL has learned that Bowser refused requests this week to go on WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi-hosted The Politics Hour with her opponent next month.

Bowser campaign manager Bo Shuff says his candidate's choice to opt out is an extension of the campaign's decision to skip debates against Catania until the ballot is set. Earlier this month, the Post reported that Bowser refused to attend a June education debate against her general election rival on the same grounds.

“Until the field is set, we’re not going to participate in forums or debates," Shuff says.

That could be a while. The ballot won't be official until Sept. 8 at the earliest, meaning that Bowser sticks to her plan, she won't participate in any candidate forums for nearly five months.

WAMU producer Mike Martinez declined to comment about his show's plans, but Catania campaign manager Ben Young tells LL that his boss was willing to go on the air.

"Their policy is a euphemism for an excuse," Young says.

Bowser wasn't so scrupulous about avoiding debates with her Democratic rivals before the primary ballot was set, appearing in a D.C. Bar-sponsored debate in November.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • DC Guy

    Also known as "I don't have an active brain cell, so rather than demonstrate it, I will play rope-a-dope."

  • Typical DC BS

    She's just counting on the usual mopes in DC to look for the D next to the names without having a clue where they candidate stands on the issues (or even what the issues are).

  • drez

    This is the same policy her campaign had during the primary season.

  • cminus

    @drez, no it isn't. Read the article.

    "Bowser wasn't so scrupulous about avoiding debates with her Democratic rivals before the primary ballot was set, appearing in a D.C. Bar-sponsored debate in November."

  • Marvin E. Adams

    AS I see it, we, the residents and those who actually vote, within the District, have three options: 1) Vote for Councilmember Bowser, H-O-P E and P-R-A-Y!; 2) Vote for Councilmember Catania, H-O-P-E and P-R-A-Y!, or convince a third individual to toss his/her hat into the ring - E-U-R-E-K-A!; HOOP, THERE IT IS!!!!!!

  • Is it November yet

    So I can just vote for Catania and close this sorry chapter for our city??

  • shawguy

    This is a really smart move by the Bowser campaign. They know the more she talks the less likable she is and the more obvious it becomes that she has no ideas, no leadership skills, and nothing to offer but a D after her name on the ballot.

  • DontSleeponDude

    Bowser will not debate Catania because she knows (and her handlers know) Catania will eat her alive. Catania is smart, knows the issues, has actually accomplished things while on the Council, and will draw very stark contrasts between him and her. Bowser lacks the depth and intellect to substantively engage Catania on issues (Gray could have, but his legal issues would have been a distraction). In a debate, Catania will "Katie Couric" her behind, and Bowser will be seen as the "DC Version of Sarah Palin". When that happens, the white voters that she thinks she can get (formerly supportive of Evans and Wells) will jump on Team Catania. Believe Dat.

    And folks that is why Bowser will not debate Catania anytime soon!!

  • Lol

    Dontsleepondude- you must not have paid close attention to the primary results. People said the same bs during the primary and she mopped the floor with all of her opponents. She not only crushed mayor Gray but she be both Wells and Evans in their own wards.

    Bowser isn't debating Catania because she doesn't have to. Why should the democratic nominee go and debate someone who isn't on the ballot this early in the general? Why would she debate someone that polls show she will easily crush? Why waste time helping someone who's untested citywide gain traction? There's no justifiable reason for her team to entertain the dude.

    You guys give Catania way to much credit. He has a less than impressive record after being on the council for almost two decades. He just a loud mouth republican who likes to swear.

    Will Sommer has a better shot at beating Bowser.

  • NewColumbia

    A small correction for you Lol: Catania has been elected city-wide as an at-large member of the council since 1998.

  • Sandra

    Hi -


    Catania is no longer a Republican. He's an Independent.

  • drez

    That was the sole exception.
    There are lots (and lots) of debates. Only 2nd or 3rd tier candidates who need to gain in the polls feel compelled to appear at them all.

  • DontSleeponDude

    @lol. Really? The one valid point that you made is that MB isnt debating Catania because she doesn't have too. On that point you are absolutely 100% right--so congrats!

    The more relevant question is why doesn't she want to debate him--and trust me, it isnt for the reason that her spin doctors will portray. Cantania is intelligent, sharp, and an excellent cross-examiner. Just ask Natwar Gandhi whether Catania can light a fire underneath someone's ass when given the microphone. He is temperamental and shrewd--but he is also prepared, knowledgeable and formidable.

    Secondly, I did pay alot of attention to the primary and here is what I surmised:

    1. MB won the primary with a very low turnout. Hell her supporters didnt turn out in large numbers for her--the same, of course, is true for other candidates. The Black vote was split between her, Gray and Orange. The white vote principally was split with Evans and Wells.

    2. The Black voters that voted for Gray and VO--are very unlikely to vote for her! She represents the second coming of Fenty. So unless she can mend that fence (good luck there!!), common sense tells us that those voters would rather stay home and teach ole girl (Fenty II) a lesson then to lift a finger and vote for her. Reality check, the rift between the Gray/Cropp and Fenty camps are at there widest now.

    3. The White voters made a statement. They knew Evans and Wells had no chance in hell of winning, but they preferred to vote for their losing candidate and risk keeping Gray in office then to vote for MB. That was a key "Facto" Lol--did you miss that. These particular voters are tired of the past--have zero loyalty toward continued Black leadership--and would love to find a qualified/capable candidate--extra points if he/she is white. (just look at how their political activism has resulted in the Council now being a majority White-- oh, and the Council Chair being White). When these voters are presented with yet another more attractive alternative to Muriel, they will be voting similarly for Catania. Believe Dat!!

    4. Can you guess who the bulk of the Independent voters and Republican voters are going to lean for? Wondering whether for the first time in DC history, the 70,000 plus registered non-Democratic voters will finally have a reason to show up on election day, and overturn the Democratic stranglehold on DC. Curious Lol--do you think they will vote for MB?? What about the bulk of LGBT voters? So the reality here is that MB might win---but she has much more of an uphill climb then what you suggest.

    Oh and that point about her polling ahead of Catania. That occurred before Catania got in the ring. So your "Sarah Palin" shouldn't get too comfortable with those poll numbers!!

  • Lol

    While Catania has been elected city wide numerous times he's faced no serious opposition. Like dems recently changing to independents are still dems Catania is still a republican.

  • DC John

    LOL...You seem to be drinking from both the Potomac and the Anacostia Rivers. What proof do you have that Mr Catania is still a Republican? Registration papers? Copies of his voting card?
    Ms Bowser....you can run but you cannot hide! Or are you taking METRO somewhere no one can find you? Obviously you sound like a high school senior cramming for her final exams by your very lame non-debate excuses.

  • WARD 5

    The perfect name THE NEW SARAH PALIN............Im supporting CATANIA in ward 5. I did campaign for Vince Gray. Period!!!!!!

  • Terry Miller

    Catania may be smart and successful but he is just a nasty human being. He has NO leadership skills because all he really knows how to do is be disrespectful and mean to people. I was a Gray supporter but I will support Bowser now just because I can't imagine anyone would really want to work with Catania as Mayor. And BTW it is not just an act. He is a mean, overcritical, arrogant excuse for a human being off the podium.

  • probablyalreadyinmybackyard


    A minor augmentation: I was a Wells supporter who, seeing that Tommy's election was all but a near impossibility, voted for Gray. So that statement you made regarding the "risk Gray remaining in office" is more valid than you know. I have a number of friends who voted the same way.

    All of these comparisons to Fenty are way to generous to Muriel. Even if you didn't care for the man, you have to admit he had a vision for the city other than himself being the mayor.

    @Terry Miller

    Catania certainly is a curmudgeon, but I think the "mean, overcritical, arrogant" line is a extreme. And if you think Bowser or her office is any better, why don't you look into how some of her colleagues on the council feel about her (to include the ones who weren't running against her).

  • DC Resident

    THE NEW SARAH PALIN!!! That sums Bowser up perfectly. I'd chose Catania any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  • DC Resident


  • DontSleeponDude

    @ Terry, I respect your assessment of Catania. Good points, the question though is whether the majority of Gray supporters will vote for Bowser. I suspect a small percentage of folks, like yourself, will vote for her--but not the bulk of the Gray voters. This runs very deep and far back to how Cropp suporters felt they were treated after Fenty's election. Fenty camp views Gray camp, and Gray/Cropp camp views Fenty camp, with mutual distaste. Absent a unifying theme, the bulk of Gray supporters ain't voting for her. That die was cast a long time ago.

    @probably. Very good/insightful point. No disparagement about Fenty was meant. It was my honest assessment of why Bowser cant presently rely on Gray voters. The fact remains that many Gray supporters see her as Fenty II.

  • Terry Miller

    I have had personal experience with Catania, behavior that I experienced directly. I have not had that same experience with Bowser (and I have had numerous interacitons with her.).

  • SaveWardSeven

    I will vote for Catania, never for bowser. At least he admits his life style, she will not address it. So, if you are proud of yourself and want to connect with the Citizens in a honest and open way, show yourself bowser!

  • AB

    I don't like Bowser but I'm iffy on Catania. This kind of attitude by Bowser solidifies my opinion that she thinks she doesn't have to show she can actually lead (maybe she can't) to win which means I'm voting for Catania. At the end of the day you have to be able to take a stand and know the issues to run the city, even if they aren't always popular.

  • Ward 4

    I am so happy to report, I was at this event today and of course I talked about the next Mayoral Election, Out of 5 people that I know were very involved in the last primary. 4 said, they would vote for Catania.......Because they recognize his leadership, and one mention """""Being Republican in DC is not the same as being Republican in Atlanta"""""" for those who argue he is a republican . Go Catania GO.
    WE are canvassing tomorrow..........


    I will not be voting for either of these fools. Terry, Catania is a mean surly gay white male and Bowser is a non caring arrogant black female. A lot of D.C. voters will sit this election out and their will be a small turn out. The hell with the lessor of 2 evils. In my view, both are Demons.

  • Nope

    I'll be writing in Tommy Wells, thank you very much.

  • SIPE

    Write in Tommy Wells or Vincent Gray would be a great IDEA. lets develop a Democrat Write In Campaign

  • Who Even Is She?

    Who even is Muriel Bowser? She won't talk to her constituents, she won't talk to reporters & she won't talk to her opponents?? Is she married? Does she have kids? Where did she come from? What did she do before becoming a council member? I cannot find out anything about her. Further, she certainly hasn't done anything for the city? She is the chair of economic development for our Nations Capital and hasn't accomplished one thing. Catania can be surly but at least he's not hiding from everyone. At least I know who he is. At least he has accomplished a fair amount for our city. Is she shy or afraid or just sort of not that smart?? At least Sarah Palin was out there. This chic is terrified and we all should be too. Especially at her lack of ever doing anything?? Her lack of and poor leadership shows up pretty obvious by just looking at her office staff. They don't return calls. They don't return e-mails?? Wonder what they do all day? You cannot say they are or have accomplished anything. Maybe they are teaching her how to speak publicly? Maybe we will see her when her campaign manager has had time to send her through a boot camp?? I'm afraid for the city, again. This one seems like the icing on the cake as far as worst mayors ever. Lord give us all strength.

  • Brightwood Ward 4

    Mean surly ass David Catania doesn't respond to emails either. I'm not a Bowser's supporter, however, they both suck when it comes to constituent services. I will be sitting out this election because I can dislike both these individuals as human beings.

  • Brightwood Ward 4


    I dislike both candidates as human beings.

  • Marvin E. Adams

    To my fellow residents: P-L-E-A-S-E!, Do N-O-T sit this election out. I have presented another option, especially if either Council members Bowser or Catania are not palatable to you - Try another candidate! Either draft one, as we speak, or organize a campaign to write one in. Precedent has been set (see Fenty write-in campaign). I'm ready, willing and able to assist in that regard (Meadams@mail.com).

    I have read an inordinate amount of posts concerning Council member Bowser and her staff's non-responses to correspondences. I have my own little story to add. Prior to the most recent Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte, Catholics United, at my behest, sent an invitation to Bowser to attend an event (A Catholic Discussion) during the Convention. This event was very well attended by some of the most prominent national Democratic Catholic political leaders, to include, but was not limited to the likes of Senator Dick Durbin, D-IL; former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Sister Simone Campbell, former Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend, D-MD, Marc Morial, President of the Urban League, and countless others.

    Much to my surprise, N-O response was received from the Bowser camp...

  • DontSleeponDude

    @LOL...after hearing these comments, you are conspicuously silent. DC's SARAH PALIN has gotz some esplaining to do. For all of these reasons, she needs to engage Catania now and show she is a leader with a vision. To do otherwise, demonstrates her weakness, vulnerability and lack of confidence in herself. The District needs a leader and she isnt stepping forward at a critical time to show she is that person...

  • we’llsee

    @dontsleepondude- Thank you for saying everything that needs to be said regarding Ms. Bowser's candidacy. I completely agree with all that you have said and would only add that I hope that my fellow Democrats will see beyond race, gender and political affiliation and vote on the candidates' records and vision for the city. To do anything less would be a disaster at a time when our city needs a leader to help it continue to move forward.

  • Peter Rosenstein

    Candidates in general elections don't debate those who aren't even officially on a ballot. We don't know yet who else will be a part of the debates as we don't know who else will get out petitions and be a certified candidate as of September 8th. The only candidates who want to debate before they are certified candidates are those who need the exposure and are considered to be losing at the time. That would be Catania who in both polls we have seen thus far is between 20 and 30% behind Bowser. I am sure that Bowser will be out and speaking to hundreds of groups between now and September 8th and that after that time if Catania and anyone else is certified by the Board of Elections to be on the ballot she will agree to debates. We have nearly 6 1/2 months until the election- plenty of time for the citizens of the District to hear and read about the vision and plans of anyone who wants to be a candidate for Mayor.

  • SaveWardSeven

    Ok, for all the people who voted for bowser the sky is finally clearing up so you can actually see the sun. Will this help you to see just how stupid and empty headed she is. Of course she will try her best to avoid Catania in a debate. Catania will mop the floor with her - at least she knows this!

  • DontSleeponDude

    @Peter--save that for David, I know what time it is.

    She is running scared. You know it--we all knit. This is DC man, who the heck is going to put together a campaign, at this late stage, against Bowser or Catania. Really?

  • DCShadyBoots

    I am voting for the smartest candidate with the strongest demonstrated legislative record.

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