Chicago, IL -
ABC 7 Chicago, in conjunction with the League of Women Voters of Illinois, will air Vote 2004 U.S. Senate Race: The Candidates Debate, the first televised debate with the Illinois U.S. Senatorial candidates, on Thursday, October 21, 2004. ABC 7 News anchor Ron Magers will moderate this live debate, which will air commercial free during primetime, 7 - 8 PM. Magers is the co-anchor of ABC 7's 5 PM and 10 PM newscasts.
Candidates invited to participate include Albert Franzen, Independent; Alan Keyes, Republican; Jerry Kohn, Libertarian and Barack Obama, Democrat. Participating candidates must meet a threshold of 10% voter support in statewide non-partisan polls in order to be included in this debate.
ABC 7 Chicago is partnering with the League of Women Voters of Illinois to give viewers a close up look at the candidates hoping to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate. Other partner organizations include the Chicago Urban League, Mikva Challenge Grant Foundation, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Asian American Institute.
A panel of Chicago journalists, who will question the candidates on pertinent issues, will join Magers during the hour-long debate. Panelists include Andy Shaw, political reporter, ABC 7 News; Laura Washington, award-winning journalist and DePaul University professor; and Carlos Hernandez-Gomez, news correspondent, Chicago Public Radio. In addition, candidates will have the opportunity to question each other.
Emily Barr, President and General Manager of ABC 7 Chicago, said, "ABC 7 is proud to televise this first senatorial debate, in primetime and without commercials, in an effort to bring the candidates and the issues into clearer focus for Illinois voters."
Barbara Lippai, President of the League of Women Voters of Illinois, said, "The League values its continuing collaboration with ABC 7 and our partner organizations. Together, we are presenting an opportunity for the thoughtful, substantive discussion of issues in the U.S. Senate race."