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Amid complaints from rival, O'Malley agrees to attend 3 candidate forums

Mayor Martin O'Malley, who has been criticized for not attending debates against his lesser-known rivals in the Sept. 9 municipal primary, has agreed to participate in three candidate forums before the election.

O'Malley will appear at events sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the League of Women Voters and two public radio stations.

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His campaign spokeswoman, Kimberlin Love, said the mayor had been invited to at least 24 events, but he couldn't make all of them because of his schedule.

Love said the mayor's commitment to three debates had nothing to do with recent complaints by his most prominent Democratic challenger, Andrey Bundley, that O'Malley was dodging political forums.

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"The mayor had said he would be committed to doing one or two debates, and then the NAACP came in at the last minute and asked him, and now he's also doing that one," Love said.

"He was always going to participate in debates -- but there was no magical number," Love said.

Bundley, the principal at Walbrook High Uniform Services Academy who is making his first run for public office, said he looks forward to meeting O'Malley at all three events.

"The mayor has skipped out on at least four forums so far," Bundley said. "He thought he could minimize my campaign by not showing up, but I guess he realized it was hurting him."

The forums are:

* NAACP debate, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 15, at Coppin State College.

* League of Women Voters debate, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 27, at Western High School.

* Radio stations WYPR and WEAA debate, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 4, at the Enoch Pratt Library's Wheeler Auditorium.


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