Mayoral candidate and Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. called yesterday for weekly debates with his competitors, a challenge that seems unlikely to become a reality.
The campaign manager for Mayor Sheila Dixon, Martha McKenna, said the candidates have participated in three forums and have several more scheduled.
"There's no shortage of forums and time to have all the candidates on a stage talking about their ideas," McKenna said.
Eight Democrats are vying for the Democratic nomination in the Sept. 11 primary. The winner will face one Republican in the November election.
Because of the city's overwhelming Democratic majority among registered voters, the winner of the primary is all but assured of becoming the city's next mayor.
Mitchell said that if Dixon opts out of his call for weekly debates, he will not move forward with the other candidates. "Any serious conversation about the future of Baltimore has to include her," he said. "I don't think it's fair for the voters just to limit our conversations to a few staged events."
Other mayoral candidates said they were eager to participate in more debates. "Let's talk about the issues. I would love to do that," said Andrey Bundley, a schools administrator.
Baltimore Circuit Court Clerk Frank M. Conaway agreed.
"I'd like real debates, not just questions and answers by an audience," said Conaway. "I like old-fashioned debates where you can ask each other questions."
McKenna said Dixon is "working so hard as mayor to hear Baltimore residents' concerns, problems, ideas and ... finding solutions."
"The mayor's really focused on being a mayor who is in the community and in the neighborhoods so she can hear directly from residents what's going on in their communities," she said.
Keep up with city campaigns, read short biographies of the candidates for mayor and City Council president, and find a list of City Council candidates at baltimoresun.com/electionsblog