Mitchell seeks debate with Dixon

The Baltimore Sun

City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. called yesterday for a one-on-one debate with Mayor Sheila Dixon so that the two mayoral candidates could discuss the issues in greater depth.

Mitchell's campaign, which said it has found a TV station that is willing to broadcast the debate, said it was responding to a comment made by Dixon after Monday's televised debate that she did not have enough time to respond to questions because all seven Democratic candidates took part.

"We believe that the interim mayor feels as though there was not enough time to fully explain her issues and that a one-on-one debate would provide more time for both candidates to explain the positions," said Mitchell's campaign manager, Jayson Williams.

Dixon campaign officials said that the mayor has attended several candidate forums and that she participated in Monday's hourlong debate and a two-hour debate Tuesday.

"The candidates have done three hours' worth of debates in the last three days, and Keiffer Mitchell did not come up with one new idea for solving the city's problems," said Dixon's campaign manager, Martha McKenna.

Dixon declined Monday to answer a question posed to her about no-bid contracts. At the time, she said the debate was not the proper forum to address the question.

At a news conference yesterday, according to a WBAL radio recording, Dixon told reporters that she could not answer questions regarding allegations about the contracts because the issue is under investigation by the state prosecutor's office - a departure from past statements in which the mayor has suggested that she has been cleared by the prosecutor.

"First of all, I had one minute. Second of all, there was no no-bid contract. And so to be able to explain - as well as, it's still in the hands of the state prosecutors," she said. "One minute could not justify the kind of explanation needed."

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