Two-term Mayor Bowser won't commit to only televised debate

FOX 5 and The Georgetown University Institute of Politics will sponsor the only televised debate in the D.C. Mayoral Democratic Primary on June 1. So ahead of the debate, FOX 5's Tom Fitzgerald spoke with the invited candidates about what can be expected.

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather

Mayor Muriel Bowser, Councilmember Robert White, and Councilmember Trayon White were all extended invitations earlier this spring.  Almost immediately both councilmembers accepted the invite, but with 2 weeks left until the debate, Mayor Bowser still has not said if she will attend. 

FOX 5 caught up with Mayor Bowser at an event in Northeast, D.C. to ask her about the debate. She would not indicate if she’s attending the debate, instead telling FOX 5 she’s still "working on her debate schedule."

"So there are a lot of debates and I am running the city so we’re continuing to work on and we know D.C. residents are getting ballots maybe as early as today so we will be in touch just as soon as possible." Mayor Bowser told FOX 5.

FOX 5 also reached out to the other two candidates running in the race. Both candidates had different takes on why they are participating in the debate.

Councilmember Robert White said he believes the uninterrupted hour-long debate will provide a rare opportunity for voters to hear from candidates dig deeper into the issues.

"These are complex issues, so you can't get them in a one-liner, and it’s hard to get into them in community forums you really need an opportunity to be on television to have these hard discussions so that people can see who’s going to lead our city to the next level" Robert White explained to FOX 5. 

Councilmember Trayon White tells FOX 5 he’s looking at the debate as an opportunity to get his message out to a wider audience.  He says his work on the city council has been primarily impacted Ward 8, so he’s looking at the debate as a way for voters outside his ward to get to know him and his ideas. 

"My career has been primarily east of the Anacostia River but my fight is for all of D.C. residents and this platform gives me and people an opportunity to see who I am, what I represent, my platform issues and most importantly my solutions," said Trayon White.

Wednesday afternoon The Georgetown University Institute of Politics and FOX 5 opened registration for anyone who would like to attend the debate in-person on June 1st at 7 p.m. The debate is open to the public, but attendees will have to register ahead of time. You can register here.


The live one-hour debate will be broadcast simultaneously on FOX 5 DC, FOX 5 Plus, and FOX5DDC.COM without commercial interruption. The event will be moderated by FOX 5's Jeannette Reyes and (Me) Tom Fitzgerald, along with GU Politics Executive Director Mo Elleithee.