Watch the full forum, featuring Chicago mayoral candidates Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson, live in the player above.
For the first time since they secured spots in the April 4 runoff election, Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson will meet in a televised forum hosted by NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago on Wednesday, March 8.
The “Decision 2023: Chicago Mayoral Runoff Forum," which will take place at 6 p.m., will air on television on both stations, and will stream on multiple platforms, including NBC Chicago's 24/7 streaming channel.
The two stations are partnering with the Chicago Urban League, Latino Policy Forum and the Union League Club of Chicago.
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The forum will be moderated by NBC 5 Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern. NBC Chicago anchor Stefan Holt and Telemundo Chicago anchor Anabel Monge will also participate.
Wednesday’s forum will mark the first time that Vallas, the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and Johnson, a Cook County commissioner, will have faced off since they finished in the top two spots in February's Chicago mayoral election.
Vallas grabbed nearly one-third of the vote, while Johnson bested incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García to earn the other spot.
The forum will feature a roundtable-conversation format, according to a press release.
“Chicago voters sent a strong message on Election Day, and now they have a critical decision to make on April 4,” Ahern said in a statement. “We have two candidates with different points of view. From safety to education, my goal is to help viewers better understand where the candidates stand on the top concerns.”
In addition to airing on NBC Chicago and Telemundo Chicago, the forum will also be available on NBC Chicago’s 24/7 streaming news channel. That can be found on Peacock, Roku, Xumo, and Samsung TV Plus, as well as on NBCChicago.com and the free NBC Chicago mobile app.
Telemundo Chicago will cover the forum live on Roku, TelemundoChicago.com and on the free Telemundo Chicago mobile app.
Here's everything you need to know.
When the Forum Takes Place
The forum will take place Wednesday, March 8 from 6-7 p.m.
NBC 5 Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern will moderate the event.
How to Watch the Chicago Mayoral Forum
On NBC Chicago's Website and App
- Head to NBCChicago.com and click on 24/7 Streaming News in the trending bar.
- Open the NBC Chicago app on your app or tablet, click on the hamburger menu in the upper right-hand corner and click 24/7 Streaming News in the trending bar.
- Go to PeacockTV.com or download the free Peacock app for your streaming device, phone or tablet. It's available for iPhone or Android.
- Click on the “channels” tab in the app.
- Scroll through the channels to NBC Chicago News.
- Select the Live TV tile on your Roku TV home screen and then click the left arrow button.
- Open The Roku Channel app, click the left arrow button to access the left-hand navigation menu, scroll down to Channel 129 and select Live TV.
- Navigate to the "All Channels" portion of your television, connected website or mobile device. Click here to view online.
- Click on "Local News" and navigate to NBC Chicago News.
What to Know About the Candidates
Vallas is making his second run at earning the mayoral job, having finished ninth in the 2019 race that was ultimately won in a runoff by Lightfoot.
His campaign has focused on public safety, with sharply-critical attacks of Lightfoot’s performance in that area, as well as her at-times contentious relationship with the city’s police union, which endorsed Vallas this campaign season.
Vallas has also received endorsements from the Chicago Tribune, as well as Alds. Tom Tunney, Walter Burnett and others.
Johnson jumped into the campaign in late October after receiving an endorsement from the Chicago Teachers Union, and he has since built a coalition of labor unions that helped propel him to a second-place finish over Lightfoot and García, the latter of whom had finished second in a runoff in the 2015 mayoral election.
Johnson was elected to the Cook County board in 2018, and jumped onto the Chicago political stage when he helped to organize activists against Lightfoot during a 2019 teachers’ strike.
He also served as a teacher at CPS’ Jenner Academy in the city’s Cabrini Green neighborhood.