Hobbs and Lake won’t debate despite election commission offering to let Hobbs propose conditions

Hobbs and Lake won’t debate despite election commission offering to let Hobbs propose conditions

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Voters will not be able to see Katie Hobbs, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Secretary of State, and Republican Kari Lake, the GOP gubernatorial nominee, debate ahead of the November election.

Arizona voters won’t see a debate between the major gubernatorial hopefuls.

Democrat Katie Hobbs said Sunday she won’t share a stage with Republican Kari Lake. That came even after the Citizens Clean Elections Commission offered last week to let Hobbs propose conditions on a head-to-head event.

But the decision is hardly a surprise.

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Secretary of State Katie Hobbs

Nicole DeMont, Hobbs’ campaign manager, balked last week when commission chairman Damien Meyer asked her flat out whether there are any conditions under which the candidate would agree to participate in the same kind of debate the commission has sponsored for decades. DeMont said she would not respond to “hypothetical” questions.

And Hobbs refused to debate Marco Lopez ahead of the Democratic primary.

In explaining the decision, DeMont repeated the same allegations she made to commissioners last week, charging that Lake would turn the event into “constant interruptions, pointless distractions, and childish name-calling.”

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Kari Lake

She also has complained that Lake, who insists that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, would spend the time rehashing old conspiracy theories rather than how focus on policies for governing the state.

DeMont repeated her offer to participate in a “town hall” style event, where she and Lake would answer questions, but separately. Commissioners rejected that proposal Thursday, saying the public is entitled to see the candidates side by side.

Hobbs’ decision means that Lake will get 30 minutes of her own on KAET-TV, the Phoenix PBS affiliate, on Oct. 12, questioned by Ted Simons, who has hosted other debates. That is precisely what happened when Hobbs snubbed a debate with Lopez.

No other major candidate for any Arizona statewide office has refused to debate.