Media Roundup: Top Mayoral Candidates Trade Barbs in Televised Debate

The Democratic primary is four days away.

The four leading mayoral candidates traded hostile words in their last televised debate Wednesday night, but there were no clear-cut winters.

As the primary date quickly approaches, WUSA9 hosted the hour-long debate for the race's front-runners. A new News4 poll shows Councilmember Muriel Bowser (Ward 4) and Mayor Vincent Gray in a statistical dead heat. Bowser has 28 percent of likely voters to Gray's 26 percent.

Bowser said she believes Gray knew about an illegal fund that helped elect him in 2010.

"People know all of the allegations; they know that there may be an indictment; they know that the mayor deserves the presumption of innocence, and still they say they don't trust this mayor," Bowser said, according to the Washington Post. "They do not want to drag this scandal into the next four years."

Bowser and Jack Evans (Ward 2) disagreed on whether or not to keep Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson. Evans said it would be unwise to replace Henderson, referring to chronic turnover among the school system's managers.

The Post explained the essence of the debate:

"The debate -- which also included council members Jack Evans (Ward 2) and Tommy Wells (Ward 6) -- came as Gray struggles to build upon his loyal base amid the new corruption allegations; Bowser tries to gather anti-Gray sentiment behind her; Wells seeks to gain elusive traction with an ethics-focused message; and Evans, the council's longest-serving member and a second-time mayoral candidate, again watches his aspirations slip away."

FishBowl DC gives a satirical rundown of the event, and WUSA9 also live-blogged the night's key moments.

Mayoral Candidate Andy Shallal lashed out against the TV station for excluding him from the debate, City Paper reported. "Shame on WUSA," he said.


  • Gray launched a website specifically attacking Bowser, saying she lacks the experience to be mayor. (DCist)
  • The City Paper's editorial team explains which candidates you should and should not vote for. (Washington City Paper)
  • Voting for D.C.'s next mayor is now officially a drinking game. Leading up to next Tuesday's Democratic primary election, you can "drink the vote" by ordering cocktails paired with each of the mayoral candidates. (Washington City Paper)
  • In the final weeks of the race, D.C. mayoral campaigns have spent nearly $1.5 million on direct mail. (The Washington Post)
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