CHAMPAIGN — Two local candidate forums have been scheduled for this month by the League of Women Voters of Champaign County, the NAACP Champaign County and The News-Gazette.
The debates will be held at the Champaign City Council chambers, 102 N. Neil St., C, and will be open to the public. They also will be broadcast live on the city of Champaign's CGTV cable television channel (Comcast Channel 5) and will be rebroadcast at other times.
The first debate, at 7 p.m. Thursday Oct. 18, will feature the candidates in the three contested state legislative races in Champaign County.
The debate for the 103rd House District seat, featuring incumbent state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, and Republican challenger Rob Meister of Champaign, will be at 7 p.m.
That will be followed at 8 p.m. by a debate between the 104th House District candidates, incumbent Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin, and Democratic challenger Michael Langendorf of Urbana.
The final forum of the evening will feature the candidates in the 52nd Senate District, incumbent Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, and Republican challenger John Bambenek of Champaign.
The second forum, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, will feature the candidates for the four contested countywide races in Champaign County. It also will be held at the Champaign City Building.
At 7 p.m. the candidates for county auditor — Democrat George Danos of Champaign and Republican John Farney of Urbana — will meet. They will be followed at 7:30 by the candidates for circuit court clerk — Republican Katie Blakeman of Champaign and Democrat Barbara Wysocki of Urbana.
At 8 p.m. the candidates for county clerk will debate, Republican Gordy Hulten of Champaign and Democrat Charlie Smyth of Urbana. The final meeting will be at 8:30 and will include the race for county recorder, incumbent Republican Barbara Frasca of Champaign and Democratic challenger D'Anne Winston of Champaign.
The debates will be moderated by members of the League of Women Voters and the NAACP.
Questions can be submitted in writing by audience members at the debate. Or they can be submitted in advance by email at firstname.lastname@example.org  or by mail to Election, The News-Gazette, 15 Main Street, Champaign, IL 61820.
An attempt to host a third local debate with the candidates in the 13th Congressional District race was unsuccessful. Independent candidate John Hartman of Edwardsville agreed to the proposed Oct. 4 debate at the Champaign council chambers, but Democrat David Gill's campaign said the candidate had other obligations that night and Republican Rodney Davis' campaign never responded.