Following controversy caused by Arizona PBS, the Arizona Clean Elections Commission (CEC) held its 2022 gubernatorial debate on Sunday. However, the only nominee in attendance was Republican Kari Lake as her Democrat opponent, Katie Hobbs, declined to attend.
“Thank you to the clean elections folks. I know they had to kind of move things around as we tried to make a debate happen with myself and my opponent, but unfortunately, she was not courageous enough to show up for the debate,” Lake said to start the evening.
The Arizona Clean Elections Commission (CEC) announced Monday a new time and partnership for the previously rescheduled gubernatorial debate following Arizona PBS’s (AZPBS) decision to give Democrat gubernatorial nominee Katie Hobbs her own solo interview.
“Clean Elections has partnered with KAZT/AZTV7 to broadcast our gubernatorial event on Sunday, October 23rd at 5pm. Both campaigns have been informed,” tweeted the CEC.
Following the announcement that Arizona Public Broadcasting Service (AZPBS) would be giving Democratic gubernatorial nominee Katie Hobbs her own on-air interview, which led to the postponement of Republican nominee Kari Lake’s scheduled Q&A on the channel, Arizona State Rep. John Kavanaugh (R-Maricopa) intends to introduce new legislation to cut AZPBS from state funding.
“The public interest is best served when candidates debate before the voters. The Arizona Clean Elections Commission wisely penalizes those candidates who refused to debate by giving their opponent a televised question and answer session and giving no time to the candidate who declines to debate. AZPBS has partnered with the Clean Election Commission [CEC] for this year’s debates and is now undermining the debate process by circumventing the commission’s rules,” said Kavanaugh in a statement emailed to the Arizona Sun Times.
Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake put local broadcasting company PBS on blast for allowing her Democrat opponent Katie Hobbs to have a solo interview on the station after refusing to debate Lake on stage.
“We just learned hours before airtime of tonight’s Clean Elections Commission [CEC] debate that PBS has unilaterally caved to Katie Hobbs’ demands and bailed her out from the consequences of her cowardly decision to avoid debating me on stage. As the CEC’s broadcast partner, PBS’ actions are a slap in the face to the commissioners of the CEC and a betrayal of their efforts to put on an actual debate,” Lake said in a statement emailed to the Arizona Sun Times.
The first debate between Trump-endorsed Republican Abraham Hamadeh and Democratic candidate Kris Mayes for Arizona Attorney General (AGO) took place Wednesday evening on Arizona PBS, sponsored by the Clean Elections Commission. The two candidates sparred for much of time over whether the other was qualified for the position. The moderators’ questions focused primarily on the candidates’ willingness to prosecute abortion laws and voter fraud from the 2020 presidential election, where there were stark differences.
In Mayes’ opening statement, she touted her seven and a half years serving on the Arizona Corporation Commission, and said she’d been a member of the Arizona State Bar for 15 years. She claimed she had experience prosecuting consumer fraud, and pledge to protect reproductive rights and democracy if elected.