What is she scared of? Democrat Katie Hobbs, the Arizona Secretary of State, refused an invitation to debate Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake. Her excuse is that Lake is a conspiracy theorist who will interrupt and name-call during a debate.
Kari Lake is endorsed by Donald Trump. She believes his claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him and that he should still be the president. That doesn’t make Kari Lake unique, there are many loyal Trump supporters who believe the same, but it seems to have intimidated Katie Hobbs into shying away from a debate before the November election.
The two candidates were invited by Citizens Clean Elections Commission, the state agency that sets up debates. Last week the commission rejected a request from Hobbs to do separate, televised town hall events. It gave both candidates seven days to come to an agreement for an October 12 debate. Hobbs wanted to turn the debate into separate 30-minute town hall-style interviews instead of a traditional debate format where the candidates face-off to answer the same questions. Hobbs’ decision on Sunday to reject the debate invitation likely means there will be no chance for a debate before the election.
The Hobbs campaign released a statement on Sunday.
“Secretary Hobbs remains willing and eager to participate in a town hall style event, such as the forum she participated in last week in which Arizonans were able to hear directly from Sec. Hobbs about her in-depth policy plans and how she would approach governing this state. Unfortunately, debating a conspiracy theorist like Kari Lake – whose entire campaign platform is to cause enormous chaos and make Arizona the subject of national ridicule – would only lead to constant interruptions, pointless distractions, and childish name-calling. Arizonans deserve so much better than Kari Lake, and that’s why we’re confident Katie Hobbs will be elected our next governor.
We must respectfully decline the invitation.”
Last week, Lake posted a tweet after the Clean Elections Committee refused to allow Hobbs to turn the debate into individual town halls. Lake offered to let Hobbs choose the time, place, moderator, and questions.
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) September 8, 2022
Hobbs’ campaign manager, Nicole DeMont, said that a debate with Lake “only lead to constant interruptions, pointless distractions, and childish name-calling.” DeMont insisted that Hobbs is interested in a town hall style event.
.@katiehobbs makes it official: she’s refusing to debate @KariLake.@AZCCEC gave her 7 days to work with Lake and Clean Elections staff on ground rules for a debate. Hobbs still declined. Voters will not get to see Lake and Hobbs face each other on a debate stage. pic.twitter.com/AJPUChCk1C
— Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda) September 11, 2022
It’s a odd campaign strategy, if you ask me. Hobbs is a statewide elected official, the Secretary of State. Clearly she has run a statewide campaign before this race. Why wouldn’t she be prepared to appear on the same stage and debate? The voters of Arizona are entitled to see the two candidates together and listen to their ideas. If Lake is truly as Hobbs describes her – someone who interrupts, distracts, and name-calls, let the voters see for themselves and make up their own minds. Let voters decide which candidate has serious solutions to state problems.
Kari Lake is a former news anchor. She is known to have an aggressive style with the media, not afraid to push back or confront them on bias. Perhaps Hobbs is just intimidated. If she is too intimidated to debate her challenger, she’s not up to the job of running the state. It seems this is a pattern with Hobbs. She refused to debate her opponent in the Democrat primary.
Real Clear Politics shows this race as a toss-up. It predicts a GOP hold. The current governor, Republican Doug Ducey, is not running for re-election as he is term-limited out of office.