Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake slammed her opponent Katie Hobbs Thursday after the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission (AZCCEC) rejected Hobbs’s request for an unorthodox debate format.
“It’s becoming clearer everyday that Hobbs’ strategy is to hide from me, the Press, and Voters throughout the entirety of this campaign and run out the clock on the people of Arizona. Fortunately, the Clean Elections Commission refused to play inter her game and voted down her proposal for a town hall safe space,” said Lake. ” I will take part in the debate format that I already agreed to, and if Katie Hobbs grows a spine between now and October 12th, she is welcome to join me!”
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) September 8, 2022
The Arizona Sun Times reached out to the Katie Hobbs Campaign and the Arizona GOP for their reaction to this situation but did not receive comment before publishing.
After refusing to debate Lake, Hobbs’s campaign manager sent a letter to the AZCCEC stating that Lake focuses too much on “lies about an election that took place two years ago” and that the people of Arizona deserve a debate without “constant interruptions, pointless distractions, childish name-calling, tired conspiracy theories, and demonstrably false accusations.” Her suggestion instead was to have a town hall-style interview with host Ted Simons, in which opponents appear in separate, back-to-back thirty-minute time slots where they could be questioned.
Lake quickly fired back, sending a separate letter to the AZCCEC, which was read aloud during the forum. She refused to participate in the town hall format suggested by Hobbs, which she called a safe space where Hobbs could avoid any criticism of her policies or records. Lake requested the commission set up a formal, on-stage debate with two podiums where Lake and Hobbs could answer questions if she agreed to participate.
“We are calling on the Commission to schedule the debate as planned with two podiums on stage. Kari Lake will be there to answer any & all questions from the moderator.” pic.twitter.com/iuthNUZIxc
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) September 8, 2022
While speaking during the forum, AZCCEC Chairman Damien Meyer shared that the commission’s top priority is voter education and that they have been holding debates for that purpose for over 20 years.
“In my opinion, it would be most beneficial for Arizona voters to have the opportunity to see a live debate between our two candidates for governor,” said Meyer.
However, while he disagreed with Hobbs’s proposal, he also stated any debate must be “fair and reasoned,” which will require the cooperation from both campaigns and AZCCEC staff to come to an agreeable format.
The debate is scheduled for October 12th, and the Lake and Hobbs campaigns have until September 15th to agree on a debate format. If there is no agreement and one nominee refuses to participate, the October debate will be a simple Q & A session between Simons and the present party.
Watch the entire AZCCEC forum here.
Moreover, Hobbs is no stranger to the AZCCEC stage. While running for Secretary of State in 2018, she debated Republican opponent Steve Gaynor on PBS’s Arizona Horizons. During the debate, Simons dug into several issues. Hobbs seemingly dodged some accusations while trying to give a justifiable response to others, although the same could be said of her opponent.
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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Kari Lake” by The Kari Lake. Photo “Katie Hobbs” by Katie Hobbs. Background Photo “Arizona State Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.