The mayoral race is starting to pick up again after a sleepy few weeks, but don’t expect to hear leading contenders Muriel Bowser and David Catania face off on the airwaves soon. LL has learned that Bowser refused requests this week to go on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi-hosted The Politics Hour with her opponent next month.

Bowser campaign manager Bo Shuff says his candidate’s choice to opt out is an extension of the campaign’s decision to skip debates against Catania until the ballot is set. Earlier this month, the Post reported that Bowser refused to attend a June education debate against her general election rival on the same grounds.

“Until the field is set, we’re not going to participate in forums or debates,” Shuff says.

That could be a while. The ballot won’t be official until Sept. 8 at the earliest, meaning that Bowser sticks to her plan, she won’t participate in any candidate forums for nearly five months.

WAMU producer Mike Martinez declined to comment about his show’s plans, but Catania campaign manager Ben Young tells LL that his boss was willing to go on the air.

“Their policy is a euphemism for an excuse,” Young says.

Bowser wasn’t so scrupulous about avoiding debates with her Democratic rivals before the primary ballot was set, appearing in a D.C. Bar-sponsored debate in November.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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