The Arizona Democratic Party nominee for Governor, Katie Hobbs, is ignoring increasing pressure to face off with Republican Party nominee Kari Lake in a debate.
Both supporters and detractors are questioning Hobbs’ decision to skip out on the Citizens Clean Elections debate, which has traditionally provided Arizona voters with an opportunity to compare the candidates’ performance under fire on the same stage and at the same time.
From supporters like Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts, to opponents like the Republican Governor’s Association, Hobbs’ is facing criticism for her decision to deny Arizonans an election cycle tradition.
“Fresh off her refusal to debate Marco Lopez in the Democratic primary, it appears Hobbs is now trying to wiggle out of going one-on-one with Kari Lake in the general election,” write Roberts referring to Hobbs’ previous refusal to debate. According to Roberts, “some Democratic political consultants are concerned that Hobbs often seems invisible – especially to those independents and moderate Republicans she must win over if she wants to win this election.” Roberts calls Hobbs’s decision a “loser move.”
“Katie Hobbs is a dangerous open border Democrat just hoping to hide her radical views from voters until election day,” said Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) spokesman Will Reinert. “Yet by going into hiding, Hobbs only reinforces the case that many in the Democratic party have been saying for months — that she is a terrible nominee and candidate for governor.”
For her part, Lake is addressing the situation with humor. On Sunday, she tweeted: “Still nothing from my opponent. @PhoenixPolice — you may need to go do a wellness check. Where’s Katie?” Lake’s tweet came 24 hours after she publicly challenged Hobbs to a debate, offering to join her “on a debate stage any time, any place, in any format, with any questions.”
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) August 21, 2022
Unlike Hobbs, Lake did participate in the Citizens Clean Elections Republican Primary debate.
“It’s so typical of hypocritical career politicians like Katie Hobbs to talk a big game about me on the safety of an MSNBC panel only to avoid debating with me on stage because she’s afraid she might lose. Ducking out of debates may have worked in her primary, but it won’t work against me,” said Lake in a press release. “If Hobbs thinks she can spend the next 11 weeks hiding in her basement from her radical liberal record that’s way out of step with Arizona, she has another thing coming. I’ll join Hobbs on a debate stage any time, any place, in any format, with any questions. Come out, come out wherever you are, Katie. I’m not afraid to answer tough questions, and you owe it to the people of Arizona to do the same.”
The Arizona Daily Independent reached out to the Hobbs’ campaign this weekend, but it did not respond by our deadline.
As reported by the Arizona Daily Independent last week, Hobbs has opted to appear at the pricey 2022 Gubernatorial Candidate Forum held by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, but will manage to avoid having to share a stage with Lake thanks to the Chamber’s format.
According to KTAR, Lake and Hobbs “will be on the same stage at the same event next month — but not at the same time. Each candidate is scheduled to get about 20 minutes of time on stage with a moderator, Annie Vogt with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who is putting on the event.”