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LL currently counts 16 candidates for the open Ward 5 seat. But at a debate scheduled for early next month will only feature five of those candidates, a deliberate omission that’s causing a little heartburn.

The debate was organized by the Brookland Heartbeat, WTOP, and the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia, and the Heartbeat’s Don Padou says the small number of invitees was done on purpose.

“We wanted to have a debate, not a forum,” he says.

The invited debaters are Republican Tim Day, and Democrats Kathy Henderson, Delano Hunter (pictured), Kenyan McDuffie and Frank Wilds.

LL’s already gotten one anonymous call complaining that the other candidates are being unfairly shut out. Padou says he’s gotten plenty of not-anonymous calls from candidates saying the same thing. But, he says, the invitees were selected based on criteria that the debate organizers determined before anyone’s candidacies were even official. Padou says points were awarded based an past performances in elections, and other tangibles, like fundraising totals and whether the candidate has a functioning campaign website.

Padou says he understands the frustration of those candidates who didn’t make the cut, but also added that he’s pretty sure that next Ward 5 councilmember got an invitation to the debate.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery