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WTTW’s CHICAGO TONIGHT to Host Candidate Forums

The nightly newsmagazine to present six live forums, as well as a Candidate Free Time website, to Illinois and Cook County races prior to the November 2016 general election

For immediate release
Chicago, IL - October 4, 2016

WTTW, one of the Midwest’s premier public media organizations, announced today that its flagship nightly newsmagazine CHICAGO TONIGHT will present six (6) live candidate forums in October 2016. The forums will focus on some contested races for county, state, and federal offices in the November 8 election. These forums, which will vary in length, will take place during CHICAGO TONIGHT’S live broadcasts at 7:00 pm on WTTW11 on the dates listed below. Each forum will be also be viewable at, along with a wealth of informative political coverage and other supplemental content.

Candidates’ names are in alphabetical order:




Thursday, October 20

Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County


Dorothy Brown (D)*

Diane Shapiro (R)

Monday, October 24

Cook County State’s Attorney


Kim Foxx (D)

Christopher E.K. Pfannkuche (R)

Tuesday, October 25

Illinois Comptroller


Susana Mendoza (D)

Leslie Munger (R)*

Wednesday, October 26

U.S. Senate

Tammy Duckworth (D)†

Thursday, October 27

8th Congressional District


Peter DiCianni (R)

Raja Krishnamoorthi (D)

Tuesday, November 1

10th Congressional District

Robert Dold (R)*

Brad Schneider (D)


Mark Kirk (R)* declined invitation 

WTTW will also offer a comprehensive digital version of Candidate Free Time, which was pioneered by WTTW in the 1992 race for U.S. Senate, available at beginning on October 10. Each candidate will be given two minutes to present their platforms, explain why they feel they are best qualified, and outline what they intend to do if elected or re-elected. The messages are recorded at the WTTW studios at no cost to the candidates, and invitations have been issued to all candidates (from all parties) in the races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Illinois Comptroller, and the following Cook County offices: Clerk of the Circuit Court, State’s Attorney, Recorder of Deeds, Board of Review 1st and 2nd Districts, and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

“WTTW takes its responsibility in the electoral process very seriously,” said Dan Schmidt, President and CEO of WTTW.“ By offering our audiences the opportunity to view the candidates having an in-depth conversation about issues relevant to their lives, and making it possible for all contenders of all parties to present their platforms, we arm voters with the information they will need to make informed choices when they head to the polls in November.”

Candidate Forums on CHICAGO TONIGHT are made possible, in part, by The City Club of Chicago and the League of Women Voters of Cook County.

The City Club of Chicago is a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose members include prominent business, civic, and government leaders in Chicago. The organization attracts those interested in civic responsibility, public issues, open political debate, and networking opportunities. Founded in 1903, it is the longest-running civic forum in Chicago.

The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan, political organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  The League of Women Voters of Cook County is composed of over 1,100 members in 14 local Leagues within Cook County.

WTTW’s flagship nightly newsmagazine CHICAGO TONIGHT celebrated 30 years on the air in April 2014.  Airing weeknights at 7:00 pm and online at, the award-winning series hosted by Phil Ponce covers Chicago stories in politics, arts, science and technology, health, business, architecture, education, history, and more. Its robust website includes original reporting, extensive video, a comprehensive archive of Chicago stories and other special features. Audiences can connect with CHICAGO TONIGHT on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

About WTTW
WTTW is a premier public media organization committed to creating and presenting unique television and digital media content across four distinct television channels – WTTW11, WTTW Prime, the Spanish-language channel WTTW Vme, and WTTW Create/WTTW WORLD, and on Recognized for award-winning local and national productions such as Chicago Tonight, Check, Please!, and MEXICO – One Plate at a Time, WTTW presents the very best in public affairs, arts and culture, nature and science, history and documentary, and children’s programming to 2 million weekly viewers across a four state area. Visitors to can connect with others in the community and access a full library of local and national video content for kids and adults, interactive features, event and membership opportunities, and robust microsites dedicated to WTTW and PBS series and specials.  Connect with WTTW on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube