Instead of focusing on allegations of campaign corruption, Tuesday's mayoral debate focused on issues that would have otherwise been at the forefront of this primary cycle.
With allegations of corruption lingering and early voting in play, D.C.'s mayoral candidates engaged in a surprisingly tame debate.
Perhaps it was the church setting that allowed the D.C. mayoral candidates to turn the cheek Tuesday night, but after two heated debates, Tuesday's Metropolitan AME Church debate was much calmer.
All the candidates - Mayor Vincent Gray, Councilmembers Muriel Bowser, Tommy Wells, Jack Evans, Vincent Orange, as well as businessman Andy Shallal, former state department official Reta Lewis, music promoter Carlos Allen and write-in candidate Michael Green - fielded questions that focused on education, affordable housing, homelessness, jobs, District development and the equality and achievement gap.
They are the issues that would otherwise be at the forefront of this primary cycle if campaign corruption was not hanging over it.
The debate lasted about an hour and a half and spent, roughly two or three minutes on the allegations that Mayor Gray was aware that convicted businessman Jeffrey Thompson was funding an illegal, off-the-books campaign for Gray's 2010 election run.
Despite the allegations and growing momentum from the Bowser and Wells camps, Gray continues to hold on strong. WUSA9's Bruce Johnson reports that Gray is expected to pick up a hefty endorsement on Wednesday from former D.C. Mayor and current D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry.
Early voting has already began. The primary is scheduled for April 1st.