The Baltimore Banner, WJZ-TV, WYPR and the Schaefer Center for Public Policy at the University of Baltimore are partnering to host a mayoral debate on Tuesday, April 30, featuring the four leading Democratic candidates in Baltimore.

The debate will air just days before the start of early voting in the May primary.

Mayor Brandon Scott, former Mayor Sheila Dixon, former prosecutor Thiru Vignarajah and businessman Bob Wallace have all confirmed their participation in the debate.

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Kimi Yoshino, The Banner’s editor in chief, said she’s pleased to work with the Banner’s media partners to host the debate.

“We believe it’s important to bring these candidates together to debate so that voters can make an informed choice about who is best equipped to lead the city,” Yoshino said.

The debate will be moderated by The Banner’s Emily Sullivan, WJZ’s Denise Koch and WYPR’s Tom Hall. It will be conducted in a Q&A format in front of invited guests who have been asked to submit a question for the candidates.

The debate will take place at 12:30 p.m. and air live on WYPR. It will broadcast at 7 p.m. on WJZ-TV and stream at the same time on The Baltimore Banner and WJZ websites.

Tanya Black, vice president and news director at WJZ, said the debate’s main goal is “to provide a fair, informative, and respectful platform for candidates to present their views, policies, and visions for the future of Baltimore.”

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WYPR’s president and general manager Craig N. Swagler said the station is “honored to facilitate this critical pillar of our democracy.”

The event will be invite only and will be held at the University of Baltimore.

“An informed electorate is critical to effective governance,” said Ann Cotten, the Schaefer Center’s executive director. “The Schaefer Center is proud to join our partners in providing this opportunity for voters to hear from the candidates for Mayor of Baltimore.”

Scott, the incumbent, has seen his support surge in recent months, according to a survey from The Banner and the Goucher College Poll. In that poll, about 40% of Democratic likely voters said they supported Scott, and 32% said they supported Dixon. Vignarajah had 11% support, and Wallace had 3%.

In-person early voting begins May 2. The primary election is on May 14.

Cody Boteler is a reporter on The Banner’s Express Desk, reporting on breaking news, trending stories and interesting things in and around Baltimore. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, USA TODAY, Baltimore magazine and others.

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