With midterm elections just three weeks away, few states will become as important to both parties as Arizona, where the governor’s race will decide whether Republicans continue to control the executive mansion in a contested state that helped win the 2020 presidential election to hand over to Joe Biden.
The race pits Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, against Republican Kari Lake, the fiery former TV news anchor backed by former President Donald Trump.
Throughout the campaign, Hobbs has repeatedly refused to debate Lake, a position that has muddled Grand Canyon State politics. It became top political story last week when the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission publicly clashed with Arizona State University’s PBS on Wednesday over the public broadcaster’s decision to give candidates 30-minute separate interviews instead of a debate , as reported by KOLD in Tucson.
In a Twitter post, the commission that conducts state debates canceled their interview with Lake, which was scheduled to air on PBS.
— AZ Clean Elections (@AZCCEC) October 12, 2022
The crowd reacts with a confused silence as Fetterman’s speech turns into a jumble of words
Hobbs reiterated her refusal to debate until Friday in an interview with Phoenix broadcaster KTVK-TV. She claimed Lake was “only interested in creating a spectacle.”
Well, if “creating a spectacle” is what Hobbs is concerned about, she didn’t show it earlier this month when she and her staff booted Lake out of an audience before Hobbs spoke at an event at City Hall where the two women should appear their campaigns.
The incident. which earned more media attention than it got, took place on Oct. 3 at a town hall hosted by Univision News host Leon Krauze, according to NBC News.
Would you vote for someone who refuses to debate with an opponent?
Yes: 5% (126 votes)
No: 95% (2195 votes)
The organizers of the event told NBC that under the agreed rules, Hobbs and Lake would not be allowed to perform on stage at the same time. Additionally, while one contestant recorded her segment, the other was to remain in a waiting room.
As Hobbs took the stage, she was apparently horrified to see Lake seated in the front row, who NBC reported was seated “with direct line of sight to her opponent.”
According to NBC, “Lake protested and said she wasn’t aware of this rule and told Hobbs to come out and debate with her.” not Hobbs. After a few minutes, Lake complied, leaving behind her campaign replacement, Mexican telenovela star Eduardo Verástegui.”
Joe Garcia, the executive director for voter outreach at the Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund, a co-sponsor of the event, told NBC, “Kari Lake brought a Mexican telenovela star and she brought the drama. It was like a telenovela.”
“She [Lake] shook her opponent. She was tall, bold, and very larger than life, Trump-esque,” Garcia said. “Anyone who thinks she was there to follow all the rules doesn’t know Kari Lake.”
A viewer told NBC this race was a clash between “an NPR Democrat and a Trump Republican.”
Well, that could be. But essentially it is a campaign for political office in the United States, where there is a long history of candidates debating publicly before voters go to the polls.
What does it say when a candidate running for public office refuses to face her opponent on the debate stage? It tells voters that she is afraid of her rival. It tells voters that she may have something to hide.
Lake responded to the incident on Twitter, rightly stating that Arizonans deserve a debate.
Thats really sad. The people of Arizona deserve better.
You deserve a debate.
I have given @katiehobbs every opportunity to prove that she’s better than me. But she can’t.
Instead of running for governor, she just runs away.
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) October 9, 2022
“If a candidate can’t even face his opponent, then he has nothing to do with running a state, let alone a relatively large state dealing with a major crisis. is @katiehobbs Will she hide in her room every time Arizona governor gets tough?”
— Kari Lake War Room (@KariLakeWarRoom) October 9, 2022
In a Twitter post, Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters, who dominated an Oct. 6 debate with his opponent, Democratic Senator Mark Kelly, called Hobbs a “coward.”
.@bgmasters: She is (@KatieHobbs) a coward for not debating @KariLake…. It’s also reasonably reasonable that Katie Hobbs doesn’t discuss Kari Lake. Because if you think there was a spectacle last Thursday when I lay down @Senmarkkelly On the ropes, imagine what Kari Lake would do to Katie…” pic.twitter.com/ea4xwAVrBx
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) October 12, 2022
Hobbs’ almost obsessive determination to avoid a debate with Lake might explain why she’s losing ground in the polls. As the summer progressed, Hobbs Lake ran slightly ahead. Lake is currently just ahead of Hobbs. As of Thursday morning, the RealClearPolitics poll average shows Lake 0.7 points above her opponent. RCP predicts Lake as the likely winner.
Candidate debates have always been an essential part of the democratic process. A debate is essentially a job interview. Voters have every right to see how rising leaders respond to tough questions and how they perform under pressure.
No smart business owner would make an important hiring decision without first interviewing a candidate. Likewise, no voters should vote until they have completed their due diligence.
If Hobbs refuses to come to the interview, she should not be hired. Period.
https://www.westernjournal.com/icymi-republican-booted-town-hall-audience-opponent-refuses-debate-took-stage/ Republican Booted from Town Hall Audience Before Opponent Who Refuses to Debate Took the Stage