With under two weeks until the November general election, Republican Kari Lake’s campaign for governor released a new TV ad reminding Arizonans of the past racist actions of her Democrat opponent, Katie Hobbs.
“Katie Hobbs may try to run from her racist behavior, but she can’t hide her appalling record from the voters of Arizona,” said Lake’s campaign in a statement emailed to reporters. “Arizona’s state employees – and all Arizonans who are proud to call this state home – simply can’t afford to elect a racist to the governor’s office.”
The Arizona Sun Times reached out to the Katie Hobbs campaign for a response to the ad but did not receive a response.
Lake’s new ad, titled ‘Katie Hobbs: Twice-Convicted Racist,’ features the voice of Lori Zee Gray, a black female veteran who now works as a realtor in Phoenix. Gray declared she would not vote for Hobbs because of the incident involving Talonya Adams, a black woman who faced discrimination while working under Hobbs. Ultimately, Gray said Hobbs is not fit to be governor because of this issue.
The controversy involving Adams began in 2015 while she worked as a policy advisor under then-Arizona State Senate minority leader Hobbs. Adams learned that her similarly situated white and male co-workers made more money than she did and asked for a raise to be paid as much as her counterparts. However, the Senate fired Adams while she was on pre-approved family leave, leading her to file a lawsuit against the Arizona Senate. She alleged her firing was because she asked for a pay raise and that she suffered racial and sex discrimination while working. Across two trials in which Hobbs testified, separate juries found that Adams was underpaid because of her race and sex and that she was fired for complaining about it.
The second jury awarded Adams $2.75 million in damages. However, Adams only received roughly $350,000 due to federal law capping the jury’s award. This case was the second-biggest payout in 2021.
While Hobbs eventually released an apology video, that was only after facing backlash for her minimal response to the verdict, simply sending a letter to her supporters explaining her role in Adams’ dismissal.
Lake and her campaign have been all over this controversy during the campaign trail, and Lake has referred to Hobbs as a twice-convicted racist.
.@katiehobbs REFUSES to debate me.
I can't blame her.
What does a twice-convicted Racist have to talk about?
Her support of Infanticide?
Her opposition to School Choice?
Her approval of Child Genital Mutilation?
Of course she's hiding. Her policies are horrifying. pic.twitter.com/klj7ZGG8wZ
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) August 24, 2022
Another controversy surrounding Hobbs is her refusal to debate Lake. At a press conference, Lake argued that Hobbs refused to debate because she was afraid of having to defend her racist actions.
“What I do know is she’s a coward, and she’s afraid that her racist past is going to come out, and she doesn’t have a response to it. She doesn’t have a response as to why she fired Talonya Adams,” Lake said.
Moreover, Hobbs’ questionable race relations spread beyond Adams. Most recently, unearthed yearbook pictures from Senton Catholic Preparatory High school revealed that the school participated in an annual “Slave Day” event for four decades. Hobbs attended the school from 1984 to 1988, and pictures from the 1987 yearbook showed Hobbs as a participant in the school’s student council, which coordinated spirit week events including slave day. Lake called this news “cringe-inducing.”
Furthermore, Hobbs also ran into trouble at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce AZ gubernatorial forum. She faltered when moderator León Krauze asked for her to share an example of how the Hispanic community has impacted her, which the Lake campaign said was “not surprising.”
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