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Like three portions of a totem pole, the stacked heads of the Mayoral Power Rankings have come together again, full of debate angst and gubernatorial endorsements. But this time, there’s a new head on top. 

1. David Catania What: If Catania is going to break out, now’s the time. Schwartz and Bowser double-teamed him in last night’s debate, but Catania managed to come off as both more knowledgeable and personable than he did in September’s debate. His endorsement from Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin probably ranks below George Pelecanos‘ endorsement for how many votes it will actually win, but it does provide another Democrat for Catania to list as a supporter.

Why: Catania broke his self-imposed prohibition on attending Nationals games on Friday, right when it threatened to become a campaign issue. Despite the obvious value to his campaign of not looking like a stick-in-the-mud, Catania campaign manager Ben Young assures LL that Catania paid for the tickets himself.

Power Rankings Momentum: Rising.

2. Muriel Bowser

What: The tables have turned! Bowser supporters, once so concerned about a candidate’s temperament, find themselves defending their own candidate on the same charges after she repeatedly interrupted Catania. Bowser supporters say she’s just fed up with Catania calling her uninformed and inexperienced; the Catania campaign’s Young says it’s a sign of her campaign’s desperation as the race narrows.

Why: A new poll shows Catania gaining on Bowser—-as long as the electorate is majority white. Good luck with that, especially after her campaign’s turnout success in the primary.

Power Rankings Momentum: Falling.

3. Carol Schwartz

What: LL thought it was a bad idea when Vincent Orange sued a TV station for debate time, but maybe Schwartz should consider doing the same. The third-place candidate once again sat on the sidelines for much of this debate.

Perhaps worse than that, Schwartz continues to beg off talking about some issues because she’s not familiar with them. Last night, she wouldn’t answer a question about the McMillan “Park” development because she didn’t know enough about it. Why doesn’t she ask the Save McMillan folks? LL knows they’re not shy about talking about it.

Why: Of course, if you buy into the “Carol’s Revenge” theory of why she’s running, then Schwartz is getting exactly what she paid for. Schwartz somehow managed to steer a good 15 minutes of last night’s debate into exactly how many times Catania stabbed her in the back when she lost her D.C. Council seat in 2008.

Power Rankings Momentum: Stuck.

Honorable Mentions: Debate moderator Kojo Nnamdi, who kept the debate on track in the face of mic problems. Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, for somehow getting involved in the attorney general race. Vince Gray, because he needs a pat on the back after apparently getting booed at the Nationals game. Does anyone have video of this?

Photo by Darrow Montgomery