WILL Pressroom

Illinois Public Media co-hosts debate for Democratic primary candidates in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District


Illinois Public Media, WAND News, and the League of Women Voters of Champaign County will host an Illinois 13th Congressional District debate between Democratic primary candidates Nikki Budzinski and David Palmer on Thursday, May 26 in the WILL-TV studios located in Urbana, Illinois.

"In a growing news desert like central Illinois, it’s harder to know where candidates stand on the issues. These debates will be a valuable opportunity for the voters to learn where the candidates will stand on issues like abortion rights, inflation, racial justice, climate change, and more," said Reginald Hardwick, news and public affairs director at Illinois Public Media and one of the producers of the debates.

Budzinski is a Peoria native who served as an advisor on labor issues for Governor JB Pritzker. Palmer is a former basketball player and businessman who calls Champaign home.

"WAND News is thrilled to be a part of this 13th Congressional District debate. We look forward to getting our viewers questions answered before they head to the polls," said Jacklynn Sylvester, director of news at WAND News.

The debate will be moderated by Illinois Public Media journalist Tinisha Spain and feature questions from a panel of local journalists—WAND News political reporter Doug Wolfe and NPR Illinois reporter Hannah Meisel—as well as constituents of Illinois’ 13th Congressional District. Together, these questions will give people a chance to hear these two candidates discuss the issues affecting those throughout the district, which stretches from Champaign-Urbana west to the Mississippi River and to the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis.

“The League of Women Voters of Champaign County is proud to continue its tradition of promoting candidate debates,” said Trisha Crowley, president of the League of Women Voters of Champaign County.

The debate will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 26 and will be broadcast live from the WILL studios, airing on WILL-TV and WSIU-TV and simulcasting on radio on WILL-AM 580 and -FM 90.9 out of Urbana, WSIU-FM out of Carbondale, and NPR Illinois (WUIS-FM) out of Springfield. The public is welcome to interact with the debate in real-time via Illinois Public Media’s Facebook page and are encouraged to share their thoughts across all social media platforms using #IL13.

This debate will have an encore broadcast at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 27 on COZI-TV.

Constituents of Illinois’ 13th Congressional District are welcome to submit their questions for the debate at go.illinois.edu/shapethedebate. The final list of questions will be chosen by the debate’s editorial board.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Illinois Public Media, WAND News, and the League of Women Voters of Champaign County will also host an Illinois 13th Congressional District debate between Republican primary candidates Regan Deering, Matt Hausman, Terry Martin, and Jesse Reising on Thursday, June 2. More information to come.