Election 2022 Governor Arizona

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

(The Center Square) – Democrat Katie Hobbs is refusing to debate Republican Kari Lake in their race for Arizona governor. 

In her response to the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, Hobbs’ campaign said the current secretary of state wouldn’t participate in something that will make Arizona “the butt of late-night TV jokes and national ridicule,” referring to the criticism the rowdy GOP primary debate garnered. 

“In the GOP primary debate, instead of talking about how she plans to move our state forward, Kari Lake brought almost every single answer back to lies about an election that happened almost two years ago,” Hobbs campaign manager Nicole DeMont said in Friday's letter. “In fact, she mentioned the 2020 election and the false conspiracies around it at least 12 times in the hour-long debate. Arizonans are tired of partisan conspiracies about the 2020 election. Voters want solutions and a governor with real plans to drive our state forward for everyone. Kari Lake only wants a spectacle, and she has made that clear in repeated combative interactions with the media.”

The former FOX 10 anchor responded shortly after the letter was made public, criticizing Hobbs’ policy stances and saying the Democrat plans to rely on wealthy outside benefactors to fund a campaign.

“Hobbs is so terrified that I might bring up the fact that she is a twice-convicted racist, and that her racism cost Arizona taxpayers nearly $3 million,” Lake said in a video. “I made it unbelievably easy for her. She picks the date, the time, the moderator. She even had the chance to write all of the questions. But she would rather hide from the voters and let Soros and other dark money groups pour millions of dollars in attack ads against me.” 

The two are looking to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. Polling conducted last week by the Trafalgar Group found Lake with a 47-46% lead, well within the pollster's margin of error. Five percent were undecided. 

Managing Editor

Cole Lauterbach is a managing editor for The Center Square covering the western United States. For more than a decade, Cole has produced award-winning content on both radio and television.