Candidate for Arizona Governor Kari Lake Takes Campaign on Road After Opponent Declines to Debate

TUCSON, Ariz.—Democratic candidate for Arizona governor Katie Hobbs has declined to debate her Republican opponent, Kari Lake, ahead of the Nov. 8 general election, with her campaign telling local media she won’t argue with a “conspiracy theorist.”

Instead, Hobbs, who is Arizona’s secretary of state, requested a “town hall-style” format in which each candidate would sit for a 30-minute interview in a controlled setting.

“Secretary Hobbs remains willing and eager to participate in a town hall-style event, such as the forum she participated in [September], in which Arizonans were able to hear directly from Sec[retary] Hobbs about her in-depth policy plans and how she would approach governing this state,” Nicole DeMont, Hobbs’s campaign manager, wrote in a letter to the Citizens Clean Elections Commission in Phoenix.

The commission sponsors public debates each election cycle so that Arizona voters can better gauge the candidates running for office.

Arizona Democratic candidate for governor Katie Hobbs speaks to the media before dropping off her primary election ballot in Scottsdale, Ariz., on July 21, 2022. (Ross Franklin/AP Photo)

“Unfortunately, debating a conspiracy theorist like Kari Lake—whose entire campaign platform is to cause enormous chaos and make Arizona the subject of national ridicule—would only lead to constant interruptions, pointless distractions, and childish name-calling,” DeMont said in the letter.

“We must respectfully decline the invitation.”

Lake called Hobbs’s rejection of a one-on-one debate a political act of “cowardice” on social media.

Either way, it appears the voters won’t get the chance to hear these two ideologically opposed gubernatorial candidates debate in a public forum, pitting their ideas—and political agendas—against one another.

Debates Are ‘Critical’

The political debate, which is perhaps as old as politics itself, is an opportunity for voters to directly gauge the candidates’ image, honesty, and substance.

“Debates are a critical tool for voters

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