Loose Lips

Bowser Wants All Candidates at Mayoral Debates

With Muriel Bowser's independent opponents turning in their signatures last week to make November's mayoral ballot, Bowser said at an endorsement press conference today that she looks forward to facing her opponents at mayoral debates. Make that all of her opponents.

“It’s my expectation that everybody who qualifies for the ballot should be invited," Bowser said.

While LL doubts that many forum organizers will manage to keep away Bowser rivals David Catania or Carol Schwartz, based on both their terms on the D.C. Council and the fact that Bowser needs at least one person to debate, the Ward 4 councilmember's request that other candidates be invited to events is more surprising.

Barring petition challenges that could knock him off the ballot, Bowser's request would appear to extend to little-known candidate Nestor Djonkam. Bowser's support would also be a boon for longshot Libertarian Party candidate Bruce Majors, who struggled to get invited to Democratic primary debates earlier this year, and Statehood Green Party candidate Faith, whose frequent candidacies have featured lots of trumpet-playing but little electoral success.

LL doesn't remember Bowser having these compunctions when District TV station WUSA9 excluded primary rivals Councilmember Vincent Orange and Andy Shallal from a televised debate. Still, Bowser campaign manager Bo Shuff didn't do much to shake LL's impression that Bowser wants to face Djonkam, Majors, and Faith along with Catania and Schwartz.

"I think she was pretty clear," Shuff says.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • joan

    Even Faith has more substantive policy positions than Bowser.

  • andrew

    Yeah, it's pretty clear Bowser will do whatever she can to avoid an actual one-on-one debate (or any sort of discussion) with Catania. She seems to be afraid that he will trounce her and/or make her look like she has no actual policies.

  • Say what you will

    She knows the "Democrat" next to her name will lead her to victory unless she fucks something up. And she's doing all she can not to do that.

  • sbc

    I hope the city paper is watching who donates to each of these minor campaigns and which minor candidates get a job in the next administration...let's see who the Suleimon Brown of 2014 will be!

  • mike

    BOWSER 2014!!!!!

    She understands that David Catania is NOT the only candidate out there. David should realize it too considering the fact that Schwartz almost garnered as many signatures as he did with less time.

  • http://ward3dc.com Ward3er

    There's a proposed DC Mayoral Arts Debate being proposed; So maybe she'll post here's the twitter feed. https://twitter.com/DCMayoralArtsDe

  • http://www.facebook.com/PeterJOrvetti Peter J. Orvetti

    As they should be.

    Faith is the nominee of a party that has been on the ballot for decades. Bruce Majors is the nominee of a ballot-qualified party that fought hard to get there (and, since the Republicans have again abdicated on actually running a candidate, will be the only conservative-ish choice).

    Catania and Schwartz will almost certainly qualify for the ballot. It seems Djonkam only emerges from hiding every four years to run for mayor -- there is next to nothing about him online.

    A debate between six candidates is not that much of a challenge to run. In a city where the Democratic primary has often been tantamount to election (oh, that phrase), many past mayoral debates have been that way.

  • Marvin E. Adams

    I TOTALLY agree with Council member Bowser. Every candidate who qualified should be afforded the same opportunity, period, end of discussion. That said, where was CM Bowser's protestations of similar vein during the most recent mayoral debates, when candidates were consistently and systematically kept away from said forums. Inquiring minds want to know - I'm just sayin'.

  • DC Guy

    Let's be real, Schwartz might poll in single digits, but the others won't make more than 1%. This is such a pandering ploy by Bowser to avoid a substantive discussion in front of DC voters.

  • Adam 12

    DC has over 600,000 residents and these are the only candidates they could come up with in the mayoral race? None of the candidates are attractive to DC voters and most DC voters will not be casting a their votes. The same happened recently in the Governor and Montgomery County Executive race recently in Maryland. Maryland and Montgomery County voters wasn't excited about the race. Voter apathy is rapid all over the United States.

  • http://www.facebook.com/PeterJOrvetti Peter J. Orvetti

    On the contrary, I think all three of the major contenders have many attractive qualities, and any one of them would be an improvement over the incumbent.

  • Amanda in ward 3

    I second what DC Guy said. Let's be real, folks. She is:
    1) Holding out debating
    2) Hoping her "democrat" label will carry her
    3) Inviting as many people as possible to minimize the amount of time she'll actually have to vote.

    My hope is that people would look below the surface and see what's going on and who has the RECORD of getting things done.

  • Adam 12

    Peter J. Orvetti, I'm glad you're in the minority. Catania, Bowser, and Schwartz are not attractive candidates to vote for. Its the same old crap getting candidates that's been on the DC Council for years. Carol Schwartz should have stayed in retirement because she's too old to be running for public office over 70 years old. The same applies to members of Congress. Catania and Bowser are the perfect age, however, both have nasty personalities and neither of them have people skills.


    Hahahahahahaha.......Bowser is "SCARED" of Catania! Hilarous!!

    She has been ducking him for 3 months, now she wants "all" candidates to debate.

    Chicken shyt is the democrat nominee for mayor, SMH!!

    I am so done with the local DEM party, thieves and punks make BAD leaders! And make no mistake about it, the local DEMs are exactly that.

    BTW- Colbert King calling Bowser the "watchdog with closed eyes" is epic and so fitting!!

    No to Bowser!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/PeterJOrvetti Peter J. Orvetti

    Adam, what qualities do you think would make a better candidate? Are there specific individuals you would prefer to see on the November ballot?

  • itsjustamess

    Bowser - Run, run, run but you sure can't hide! Very soon you're going to have face the voters and the big, bad Boogeyman, Catania! You would rather do it sooner than later. You may think you have a Democratic leg to stand on but Catania is going to break it into a thousand tiny pieces. Got crutches???!

  • lost cause


  • DCShadyBoots

    Ms. Bowser, hun, this isn't a good look.

    You have more excuses than a drag queen has pumps.

    You look SCARED, girl!

  • tony

    I agree with DCShadyBoots. This is not a good strategy for Bowser.

    Such a political ploy only re-enforce the wide spread notion that Bowser can't stand on her own. Moreover, it could heighten the significance of the debates and essentially leave her with no room for error. This is a dangerous political tactic.

    When comes to debates, the key is Preparation, Preparation and Preparation.

  • Peter Rosenstein

    Muriel Bowser is right that all candidates should be invited to debates. But she didn't say she wouldn't debate without all candidates there. I know she understands that most forums will not invite minor candidates and that she will be debating Catania and Schwartz.

    What people forget about Bowser is that she has participated in more debates in the last few years than the other candidates. Maybe because Schwartz has run for Mayor four times she can claim many herself. It is Catania who hasn't had to really debate anyone in recent years as he always ran for the set-aside seat.

    I think they will all do fine in the debates and that they won't really change anything. Bowser will win the election.

    What I do think is that Catania may have to rethink his strategy again now that Schwartz is in the election. The Washington City Paper wrote about Plan C when Gray didn't win the primary- now it will have to be Plan D -for the debates with Carol Schwartz.

  • DCShadyBoots

    I'm going to need for Ms. Schwartz to take about a dozen seats! She's Done!!!

  • Concerned DCer

    Catania will expose Bowser's scant record of accomplishment and how she's beholden to the DC Old Guard

  • John

    Catania the former republican wants to attack his opponents and be his usual nasty self and hope it will leave the message of vote for me. He hopes he will not have to say what he would do if elected. Hopefully the voters will see through this move. This is what Gray did hate Fenty and vote for me and see what that got the city. Immediately Gray gave jobs to his cabinet members kids at very high salaries and then had to fire them.


    Riddle me this:

    Its REAL funny that when Catania's name is mention, folks say, "former Republican" .....but when Schwartz's name is mention, same folks fail to mention that SHE IS A Republican? Who by the way, supported and voted for John McCain in 2008. Now she might of changed for this election but that was done recently. Catania made the SWITCHED 12 years ago, before it was chic to be an "independent". Knowledge is POWER!

    Btw-Catania supported and voted for Barack Obama!!

    Also, it is REAL strange that Bowser, the Democrat BACKED Carol, the Republican, in 2008 who backed McCain against Obama....For REAL!

  • dwiktor

    I am puzzled by the title "her debates", do you meant the debates in which she will participate? Generally the debates are sponsored by organizations not the candidate. I am all for everyone being there, Faith, is well Faith. Schwartzman is academic and erudite so his answers will be at 50,000 feet. An Carol add a bit of a surprise element. However I wonder if this requirement is so that there is less time between her, David and Carol and that she will come out looking better compared to others. I really would like to see a "real debate" between the candidates where there is enough time to flesh out ideas. Ideally I would like to see a debate between Carol, Murial and David to see their differences styles and positions. Jonetta Rose Barras' column was dead on. I am not voting for a personality but for someone to run the city and I need to see who can run the city. Two people have long legislative records and accomplishments to look at, but what is going forward. A friend told me just on personality alone he wold elect Carol,she has plenty of it.