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Mayoral Debate Schedule Set

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 13, 2015 5:30PM

Clockwise from top left: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ald. Bob Fioretti, businessman Willie Wilson and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

It's happening. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his top challengers in next month's mayoral election have agreed to five debates over a two-week period. For Ald. Bob Fioretti, Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and businessman Willie Wilson, the debates are an opportunity to introduce themselves and their platforms to both undecided voters and voters disgusted with Emanuel and a chance to attack the mayor's record directly. For Emanuel, it's a setting to burnish the positive things he's done in office and make a case to voters to give him another four years to implement his agenda.

The debate schedule kicks off with a forum hosted by the Chicago Tribune editorial board Jan. 27 followed by subsequent debates with the Sun-Times editorial board Jan. 28; WTTW's “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 4; a Feb. 5 debate on ABC 7 and Univision hosted by the League of Women Voters; and Feb. 10 on CBS 2 and WVON Radio hosted by the Chicago Urban League.

Fioretti and Garcia had been calling on Emanuel to agree to a series of debates for weeks. After the schedule was announced, Fioretti's campaign released a statement that simply read "Finally." There were concerns over whether Wilson or the fifth man running, activist William "Dock" Walls III, would participate. Wilson's candidacy received a boost last week courtesy of him donating $1 million to his own campaign fund. But that credibility may be fleeting: the Tribune editorial board published their questionnaires for all five candidates Monday and Wilson's stood out... and not in a good way.

[Crain's Chicago Business, DNAinfo Chicago]