The three leading candidates in the race for New Orleans mayor will appear in a debate on WWL-TV Wednesday night (6-7 pm, WWL-TV). The debate is sponsored in part by the Committee for a Better New Orleans.

The candidates, Michael Bagneris, LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet, were selected to participate by virtue of their standing in a WWL-TV/The Advocate poll conducted with a sampling of registered Orleans Parish voters.

To make the debate field, a candidate had to register 5 percent or more in that poll.

There are 18 candidates in all in the race.

The decision to limit the number of participants has been met with a protest by candidate Troy Henry, whose numbers in our poll failed to meet the minimum standard to participate.

WWL-TV statement:

"Our criteria was set long ago and was well-publicized: any candidate at 5 percent or above in our WWL-TV/The Advocate poll would be invited to participate in our Mayoral Debate. Mr. Henry polled at less than 4 percent, and therefore did not meet the established criteria. To make an exception and allow him to participate would be unfair to all the other candidates (both those who did and those who did not meet the 5 percent threshold), and as a result we are unable to extend him an invitation.

Statement from Troy Henry campaign:

"What has confounded the media and the old school political pundits in this election cycle is that they cannot understand why the public has so far not tuned into this election. Well that's the new normal not just in New Orleans but in America where citizens now reserve their right to make their decision at the last minute after all the information is in. That's what happened in the Trump/Clinton election.

The truth of the matter is that no one has shown excitement about any of the big money supported Mayoral candidates. That is why in the most recently conducted independent poll Troy Henry is rocketing. For WWL to exclude him from their debate based on a two (2) week old poll shows that they are still enmeshed in old school politics and like the national media, don't get it."

Tim Meche

Lawyer for Troy Henry's Campaign