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WTTW's CHICAGO TONIGHT to Host Candidate Forums

The nightly newsmagazine to present nine forums, as well as an online voters' guide, for Illinois and Cook County races prior to the March 20 primary election

For immediate release
Chicago, IL - February 15, 2018

WTTW, one of the Midwest’s premier public media organizations, announced today that its flagship nightly newsmagazine CHICAGO TONIGHT will present nine candidate forums that will focus on some contested races for state and county offices in the March 20 primary election. These forums, which will vary in length, will take place during CHICAGO TONIGHT’S live broadcasts at 7:00 pm on WTTW11,, and on Facebook on the dates listed below.

Unless otherwise indicated, forums will be hosted by Phil Ponce, Carol Marin and Amanda Vinicky. Final invitations will be issued closer to the airdates, and lengths and times will be adjusted depending on candidate participation. Candidates in BOLD have accepted Chicago Tonight’s invitation as of 2/15/18.




Monday, February 19
(Pretaped at 4:00 pm to air that evening; hosted by Brandis Friedman)

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates are questioned by students from the Mikva Challenge.

Daniel Biss
Bob Daiber
Tio Hardiman
Chris Kennedy
Robert Marshall
J.B. Pritzker

Wednesday, February 21

4th Congressional District (D)

Sol Flores (D)
Jesus Garcia (D)
Richard Gonzalez (D)

Monday, February 26
(Will be pretaped 2/23)

3rd Congressional District (D)

Daniel Lipinski (D)*
Marie Newman (D)

Tuesday, March 6

Cook County Assessor (D)

Fritz Kaegi

Wednesday, March 7

Cook County Board President (D)

Bob Fioretti
Toni Preckwinkle*

Thursday, March 8

Illinois Attorney General (R)

Gary Grasso
Erika Harold

Monday, March 12

Illinois Attorney General (D)

Sharon Fairley
Aaron Goldstein
Renato Mariotti
Pat Quinn
Kwame Raoul
Nancy Rotering
Jesse Ruiz

Tuesday, March 13

Gubernatorial Candidates (R)

Jeanne Ives
Bruce Rauner*

Wednesday, March 14

Gubernatorial Candidates (D)

Invitations Pending



Online Voters Guide to Cook County Candidates in the 2018 Primary
WTTW will produce an online Guide, made possible by The League of Women Voters of Cook County, to all of the candidates running for office in Cook County. The Guide will include descriptions of the offices, biographical information about each candidate, and two-minute video statements which have been taped at the WTTW studios at no cost to the candidates.

The online Guide, which will be available at available online at beginning February 20, will provide voters with an efficient, informative presentation of candidates and their positions. The Guide will be promoted on-air during broadcasts of Chicago Tonight, and selected races may also air on the program. WTTW pioneered the concept of Candidate Free Time in 1992 in the race for the U.S. Senate, and in 1994 in the races for Illinois Governor and other major offices. Since 2016, we have partnered with the League of Women Voters of Cook County to expand the voters’ guide online.

The Democratic Gubernatorial Forum (March 14) is being underwritten, in part, by The City Club of Chicago. The audience at that forum will be made up of City Club members and their guests.

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.

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.

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!, NATURE CAT, the 10 THAT CHANGED AMERICA series, 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 almost 2 million monthly 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.