Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mary Cheh: A Wanted Woman - notes from the Washington Post

Declining to Debate Mano a Mano

Mary Cheh is a wanted woman.

It seems lots of folks want to debate her one-on-one. Or two-on-one. Or in some other combination.

That's because Cheh is ahead in a nine-way race for the Democratic nomination for the Ward 3 council seat. With less than two weeks to go until the Sept. 12 primary, Cheh has the support of council member Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3), who is stepping down to run for chairman, and the endorsements of The Washington Post and the Northwest Current.

Among her prospective debating partners are Erik S. Gaull , who challenged her to go mano a mano on issues of public safety. Gaull is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, District EMT and paramedic unions and the Medical Society of the District of Columbia.

Then there's D.C. shadow Sen. Paul Strauss , who is leaving federal office to run for the council seat. He challenged every candidate, including Cheh, to a one-on-one debate.

Bill Rice , another Ward 3 candidate, wrote to Cheh and suggested that she take Strauss up on his offer and face Rice as well, making it a three-way debate.

Cheh's response to all this attention? She is declining all invitations.

To Rice, she sent this e-mail: "We can have as many debates as you would like but let's respect the fact that there are, to my count, eight viable candidates in the race all of whom have views on the matters we would be discussing. Out of fairness to ward 3 voters and the other candidates -- with whom I disagree on issues but respect for the effort I know they have put into this campaign -- we should have fully open and fully inclusive debates."

Eight viable candidates? Wonder whom Cheh is leaving off the list?

A Craigslist Campaign Come-on
Ward 3 candidate and Advisory Neighborhood Commission member Robert Gordon has stayed out of the debate about debates. But Gordon is still reaching out through the magic of Craigslist.

Yes, Craigslist, the Internet marketplace that more typically features ads about apartments, nannies and lonely single guys.

Gordon's ad reads: "DC Democratic Campaign Work -- 2 Weeks/$10hr."

"We are hiring smart, hard-working people to help with the final stages of a DC political campaign. No experience necessary. Work will include phone calls, meeting Ward 3 constituents, and generally backing the candidate. We need you to begin work on this Wednesday, August 30th to Tuesday, September 12th . . . election day."

No word yet on the response from potential applicants.

By Nikita Stewart and Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writers

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