A ‘coward’ and a ‘conspiracy theorist’ walk into a bar and ask for your vote

Pima Post

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission sponsors statewide and legislative debates. This Arizona election cycle has not lacked drama. Much of the dramatics were stirred up over the gubernatorial debate- or the lack of one. Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs refused an invitation by the commission to debate her rival, Republican candidate Kari Lake (after Hobbs declined to debate during the Democratic primary as well).

Lake has not been shy about her debate opponent’s absence, publicly calling Hobbs a coward. Meanwhile, Hobbs will tell you Lake is a conspiracy theorist. More drama unfolded when the CCEC took to Instagram on Oct. 12 to express their disappointment with Arizona PBS and its decision to host Hobbs for a one-on-one interview. Note: This interview was scheduled for the same day early ballots were mailed.

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission posted on Oct. 12 to announce their disappointment with AZ PBS and notify the public of a same-day change of date and venue for their scheduled interview with Kari Lake. (azcleanelections/Instagram)

The interview with Hobbs was scheduled by Arizona PBS in conflict with the CCEC’s debate procedures that would entitle only Lake to a Q&A platform as she had no willing debate opponent. Regardless, Arizona PBS made the programming decision to extend that same platform to Hobbs despite her refusal to debate. This defense for their decision was given to Axios Phoenix, it is our responsibility as a news agency to provide the public with access to the candidates who are running for office so they can learn more and make informed decisions,” said Battinto Batts Jr., the dean of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is home to Arizona PBS.

On Oct. 18, Arizona PBS went forward with their scheduled interview with Hobbs on Arizona Horizons. Show host Ted Simons asked about her refusal to debate, “I’ve said from the beginning that I want to be able to have a substantive conversation about the issues that Arizonans are facing that I’m talking to them every day about on the campaign trail,” Hobbs said. Hobbs continued to chastise Lake, “she is only interested in a spotlight. She threw a tantrum outside of this building about this very interview. And that tantrum led to people in this building getting harassing and threatening phone calls and racist attacks.”

Lake is quick to point out that Hobbs didn’t show up to debate her primary opponent either when the planned debate turned into a conversation between Simons and primary candidate Marco Lopez.

The interview with Lake was eventually rescheduled and aired on Oct. 23 on AZTV7.

Political preference is yours to debate. However, the interviews came 6 and 11 days after early voting had already begun on Oct. 12. Regardless of which party wins, voters win when election information comes before the vote starts.

The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Oct. 28. Election day is Nov. 8.