Arizona gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, announced earlier Wednesday she won’t participate in tonight’s debate with Republican challenger Kari Lake.
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“All three top Republicans are election deniers,” said Hobbs, who was likely alluding to Lake, Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, and former President Donald Trump, an ardent supporter of Lake and Masters.
“How do you debate someone who refuses to accept the truth, who doesn’t live in facts? And it doesn’t do any service to the voters in terms of deciding — look at the contrast between us and how we’re going to govern — if all [Lake’s] going to do is shout, shout over me, interrupt me and spew lies,” added Hobbs.
In lieu of a televised debate between the candidates, the Arizona Republic reports that Lake will participate in a solo interview with Arizona PBS tonight; and Hobbs will be interviewed later this month.
The Lake campaign characterized Hobbs’ sudden announcement as a “betrayal.”
“We just learned hours before airtime of tonight’s Clean Elections Commission debate that PBS has unilaterally caved to Katie Hobbs’ demands and bailed her out from the consequences of her cowardly decision to avoid debating me on stage,” read the Lake campaign statement.
.@KariLake: “I promise [Katie] you can write the questions for me.— Kari Lake (@KariLake) October 13, 2022
I promise you I won’t yell.
I promise you I won’t interrupt you.
And if you want to have an emotional support animal there as well, I will agree to that.
But show up, like a grown-up, and debate.” pic.twitter.com/XgQiNelN5P
According to CrowdWisdom.com, a website tracking the various midterm races, Lake and Hobbs are currently deadlocked in the polls — at 48% apiece.
However, Crowd Wisdom also cited how Lake owns decisive leads over Hobbs with the categories of “Google Search Share” (30-point advantage) and “Social Media Sentiment” (10.5-point advantage).
The Lake campaign also took a public swipe at PBS, accusing the network of protecting Hobbs before the Nov. 8 midterms.
“PBS, a supposedly objective taxpayer-funded entity, is working overtime to help elect Katie Hobbs, who needs all the help she can get. PBS has now become complicit in Katie Hobbs’ attempt to destroy twenty years of gubernatorial debate tradition. We are actively working with the Clean Elections Commission and we continue to push for an opportunity for a real debate with both candidates on stage,” Lake’s campaign added in a statement.
Lake, an America First candidate, has spoken out against the Biden administration’s immigration policies at the United States-Mexico border, with Arizona being relegated to handle a sizable chunk of the 5 million-plus migrants who’ve illegally entered the country since January 2021 — coinciding with President Joe Biden taking office.
On Monday, Lake told Newsmax that Hobbs, as governor, would be an extension of the Biden policies, in terms of ignoring immigration problems and lethal drugs flowing across the border.
“[Hobbs is] afraid of me because of her record. Her record is dismal,” said Lake, while appearing on “Prime News.”
“I mean, she voted against a border wall, against a virtual border wall. She voted against funding anything to secure our border. … She voted for doubling the gas tax,” added Lake.