First televised Chicago mayoral debate Monday

Four of six candidates on the ballot invited by WTTW

January 17, 2011

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The candidates for Chicago mayor meet Monday for their first televised debate of the election season, and they will have to answer questions posed by teenagers.

Organizers said about 200 Chicago high school students will take part in the debate at the studios of WTTW public television. They will get to quiz mayoral contenders Gery Chico, Miguel del Valle, Rahm Emanuel and Carol Moseley Braun.

Not invited are the two other candidates on the ballot: Patricia Van Pelt Watkins and Bill "Dock" Walls. Walls called the station's decision "unfortunate," but said Friday that he is not going to bother complaining. Van Pelt Watkins' campaign said it planned to push the issue, still hoping to snag a seat at the table.

WTTW said in a statement that it chooses who to invite to debates the same way it chooses all guests on its Chicago Tonight program: by using "news judgment."

This is the first of at least four televised debates where major candidates are expected to appear. It is taking place exactly two weeks before early voting begins at polling places around the city.