Kari Lake Barred from the Stage, Ousted from Venue at Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Forum as Katie Hobbs Remained Hidden

Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake attended the Arizona Gubernatorial Candidates Townhall Monday, a forum sponsored by the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where she sat in the audience in an attempt to have a real debate with her Democrat opponent Katie Hobbs; however, the event staff told her she had to exit the room before Hobbs could appear, leaving no chance for any live exchange of ideas between the two.

“I’m here for a job interview. We’re asking questions. I’m answering them. We [Hobbs and I] should be here together so you can compare and decide which person is better suited for this job. And she’s not going to do that. Now she says that for this, it’s really interesting for this general election, but what was her excuse in the Democrat primary when she was facing our first immigrant candidate, Marco López? He sat on stage alone. She refused to debate him,” Lake said during her portion of the event. “Because I have a feeling, had Katie Hobbs showed up and sat on that stage with Marco López, who’s a very smart young man, that she wouldn’t be the nominee.”

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) hosted hosted the Monday event, which was broadcast on Univision Saturday after being translated into Spanish. At the forum, both nominees had time to speak onstage regarding their policies, but not at the same time, which is allegedly Hobbs’ preferred style of event.

However, as reported by NBC News, Lake tried to change that. Before the event began, a crowd of 200 onlookers filled the Herberger Theater Center, with Lake herself in the front row, in line of sight from the position Hobbs would take onstage. Drama ensued when moderator León Krauze introduced Hobbs, who did not appear onstage. Instead, USHCC President Monica Villalobos spoke, and Krauze asked Lake to leave the room. She initially refused, saying she would like to be onstage with Hobbs if allowed. Krauze said he would ask Hobbs about this but shortly afterwards said Lake could not appear onstage with Hobbs and that he could not invite Hobbs to the stage with Lake in the room.

“I’m happy to be here. I don’t think I should be trapped in my room. I’d love to be part of this. We should be talking about the issues that affect everyone,” Lake said to the crowd as some members clapped. “I want the people here to know I’m willing to sit on stage with Ms. Hobbs and talk about the important issues.”

Event producers then walked onstage and again requested Lake leave the room, informing her it was part of the event agreement for Lake to remain in her “designated area” while not onstage. Lake and her campaign told NBC News they were unaware of any rules that would prevent her from sitting in the audience. After a few minutes, Lake complied with the staff’s request, and Hobbs appeared onstage once Lake left the room.

While speaking at the event, Hobbs was unable to specifically comment on how the Hispanic community had affected her.


Moreover, this was not the only Hispanic event at which Lake appeared alone last week. As reported by The Sun Times, Lake attended the Hispanic Townhall Election Event to discuss issues affecting the Hispanic community. Next to her was an empty podium reserved for Hobbs, who was invited to speak but declined to do so.

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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 Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.



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