2016 Primary Election Analysis
Mary Ann Ahern, Mike Flannery, and Charles Thomas
Thursday, Mar 17, 2016
Mary Ann Bergerson Ahern
Mary Ann Bergerson Ahern joined NBC5 News in March 1989 and was named Political Reporter in 2006. On the political beat, Ahern has covered political campaigns from the White House to Springfield to Chicago. She witnessed the transition from Mayor Richard Daley to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and traveled through the primary states for the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaign, just as she did in 1988 while a reporter in Atlanta. She has covered presidential election nights from Texas, Boston, and Chicago and has covered presidential inaugurations from Washington, D.C. Her reports on the NBC 5 NEWS and on NBCChicago.com are closely followed locally and nationally. As well, Ahern follows the political goings on in Springfield and the Illinois delegation in the nation's capital. She's gained recognition for covering the religion beat and has reported from Rome on the selection of Pope Francis, Pope Benedict's farewell and the 2014 canonization of pontiffs John XXIII and John Paul II. Over the years she covered Pope John Paul II's many trips including Cuba and several World Youth Day events. Ahern followed Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s final years, the selection of Cardinal Francis George, the beatification of Mother Teresa, and the Pope’s emergency meeting with the American Cardinals on the priest sex abuse crisis. Ahern not only reports for NBC Chicago, but is often selected to file stories for the NBC affiliates nationwide. Likewise, she is often called on as a panelist for religion media issues. A native of Michigan City, Ind., Ahern graduated with a B.A. degree from John Carroll University in 1976. While working as an English teacher at two Chicago-area high schools, she received her Master's degree in Education from Northeastern Illinois University and another Master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She earned the Peter Lisagor Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago Headline Club in 2012.
Mike Flannery is the political editor at FOX Chicago News. He previously covered politics at CBS2 Chicago for 30 years. Flannery grew up in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Georgetown University. He covered politics and labor for the Chicago Sun-Times for seven years before transitioning to TV in 1980.
Charles Thomas joined ABC 7 News in September of 1991 as a General Assignment reporter after working for several years as a Midwest Correspondent for ABC News in the Chicago and St. Louis Bureaus. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1973 when he graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. "While working at the network, I traveled throughout the region, to all fifty states and to five of the seven continents", says Thomas. "Chicago was always the most exciting and intriguing city for me personally and professionally. So when ABC 7 offered a position on its staff covering Chicago on a daily basis, it was a dream come true. It also helped that I wouldn't have to fly on so many airplanes", he added. Still, Thomas remains one of ABC 7's most well-traveled reporters, adding a "Chicago perspective" to many stories of national interest. He has corresponded for Channel 7 from both O.J. Simpson trials, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Rodney King trials and civil disorder, major airline crashes, natural disasters, the Chicago White Sox 2005 World Series Championship and many other assignments. He has reported from Europe and Asia for ABC 7 and in 2006, accompanied U.S. Senator Barack Obama to Africa. Charles and his wife Maria are the parents of two adult sons and one adult daughter. They also are blessed with twin grandsons and a granddaughter. The couple resides in downtown Chicago.