Kari Lake, Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial nominee, blasted her opponent Katie Hobbs for walking away from an interview questioning why she refused to debate Lake.
“The world is not an easy place, and if she can’t stand up and debate me, then she can’t stand up against the cartels, she can’t stand up against the forces that are working against the people of Arizona. She needs to show that she has courage and get on that stage,” Lake said in a press release.
Lake added that the invitation to debate is still open for Hobbs to accept. Hobbs now has until October 12, when the debate is scheduled to air to join the event.
“If you choose to find courage to debate me, I’m happy to debate you,” Lake said, concluding her statement.
A reporter from Yellow Sheet Report initiated the informal interview in question. In the interview, Hobbs appeared to blame others for her absence from the debate stage.
“She [Lake] made the Republican primary debate a spectacle, and it doesn’t help anyone to be in the middle of that circus,” Hobbs said. “So I’m choosing to spend my time talking directly to voters and taking other opportunities where they can hear my message.”
Moreover, Hobbs blamed the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission (AZCCEC) because they “refused” to make changes that would “allow for a substantive debate.” However, the reporter alleged that Hobbs never made any requests to the AZCCEC beyond her initial town hall-style format, which the commission had rejected. After further pressing the issue, Hobbs said, “this is not a productive conversation, and if this is all you wanted to ask about, then I think we’re done,” and then walked away from the interview before three minutes had passed.
— Ben Petersen (@bennpetersen) September 21, 2022
Furthermore, Hobbs was hounded by questions about the debate while speaking on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. As reported by Fox 10 News, one young supporter asked why she did not want to get on the debate stage with Lake, to which she responded, “Let’s talk about this later.” However, she spoke with the press on the subject, saying, “no one wants an opportunity to have a substantive conversation about this more than I do – to be able to contrast my position with her and show Arizonans how I would govern versus her lack of solutions and inability to govern.” Ultimately, she said Lake’s “spectacle” remains the reason she refuses to debate.
.@FOX10Phoenix: "@katiehobbs was asked first by a supporter on campus, "Why she didn't want to take the stage to debate with Republican nominee @KariLake. She told the woman, quote, "Let's talk about this later."
I'm ready any time you want to have that talk, Katie. pic.twitter.com/oan9aCGC93
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) September 21, 2022
As reported by The Arizona Sun Times, the debate controversy began when Hobbs submitted a request to the AZCCEC to scrap the traditional debate format in favor of a town hall-style event where the two would speak separately. Lake refused to participate in the proposed format. AZCCEC Chairman Damien Meyer agreed with Lake and told both campaigns to create an agreeable format. Hobbs then declined to participate and has remained steadfast in that position since. Unless Hobbs has a change of heart, the October 12 debate will be a Q&A session between Lake and host Ted Simons.
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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 Kari Lake. Photo “Katie Hobbs” by Katie Hobbs. Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by JoeAuH2O. CC BY-SA 3.0.