A shade more than two weeks remains in the city’s highest profile political race (and a few others, too). If you’re still undecided on who you’ll be casting your two at-large D.C. Council votes for, stop by the Catholic University of America campus Saturday afternoon for the best debate you’ll see between the four leading candidates.
It’s the best debate, you see, because WTOP’s Mark Segraves and I will be asking the questions. The Ward 5 Heartbeat and the League Of Women Voters are organizing the event at CUA’s Pryzbyla Center, which features incumbents Michael A. Brown (I) and Vincent Orange (D) and challengers Mary Brooks Beatty (R) and David Grosso (I). (The other candidates — A.J. Cooper (I), Leon Swain (I) and Ann Wilcox (Statehood Green) — were excluded under objective criteria developed by the LWV in the interest of having a lively and meaningful debate.)
The 90-minute debate will get underway at 3 p.m. There is free parking and easy Metro access; directions are below.
The debate will come two days before early voting kicks off and a day after a joint poll commissioned by Washington City Paper and WAMU-FM’s Kojo Nnamdi Show shows a competitive race for the non-Democratic seat. The poll shows Brown in the lead with the support of 25 percent of likely voters, but Grosso is not far behind with 21 percent. Beatty has 9 percent support, and 32 percent remain undecided.
The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, carries a 2.8 percent margin of error. PPP uses automated calling, which means under federal law it can’t reach mobile phones. Robo-pollsters generally weigh their results to offset potential bias, but that can be a tricky business in a city where 44 percent of voting-age households have no landline. You can decide for yourself whether that fact means the race is more or less or equally as competitive as the poll indicates.