Democratic Arizona gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs was grilled on Wednesday by CNN’s Don Lemon regarding her refusal to debate her opponent, Kari Lake.
Polling experts FiveThirtyEight reports that Hobbs enjoyed a five-point lead in June but is now trailing Kari Lake by three points amid botched responses to softball questions and falsely claiming her opponent was responsible for a break-in of her campaign office and amid rising calls to participate in a televised debate.
CNN host Don Lemon questioned Hobbs about her struggling campaign:
“Why not debate your opponent? If you believe your opponent … has issues in spreading conspiracy theories about a stolen election and so on and is not being truthful with the people of Arizona, why, then, not get on the debate stage?”
Many believe Hobb’s response did not serve her well. She said: “You know, not only is Kari Lake — has she centered her entire platform around this election denialism, I didn’t want to give her a bigger stage to do that.”
Hobbs added: “But additionally, she has shown that she’s not interested in having any kind of substantive conversation. She’s only interested in creating a spectacle.”
When Hobbs was pressed again about the possibility of regaining momentum by scheduling a last-minute debate — which Lake is keen to do — Hobbs declined.
“Our campaign strategy is our campaign strategy,” Hobbs told Lemon.
The Daily Caller reported that “Lake’s website features lengthy discussions of her positions on the border, homelessness, the economy and education … water issues, the Second Amendment, rural Arizona, and election integrity.”
Nicole DeMont, campaign manager for Hobbs, said on Sept. 11 that “Secretary Hobbs remains willing and eager to participate in a town hall style event, such as the forum she participated in last week in which Arizonans were able to hear directly from Sec. Hobbs about her in-depth policy plans and how she would approach governing this state.”
Speaking to the issue of debating Lake, DeMont, said: “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.”
Lake has former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, which helped the non-politician win the Republican primary in August. Lake, a former news host, has claimed that the 2020 election was “corrupt” and, during a June debate with a primary challenger, said that President Joe Biden “shouldn’t be in the White House.”
In response to Hobbs’ interview with Lemon, a Lake campaign spokesperson told The Daily Caller:
“It’s rich to hear Katie Hobbs claim on CNN that Kari Lake only talks to fake news outlets, given that Kari Lake has talked to CNN (is Hobbs calling CNN fake news?) as well as CBS, ABC, Fox News, multiple broadcast networks in Arizona, and in fact takes questions from dozens of reporters from dozens of outlets almost on a daily basis.”
The spokesperson added: “Kari Lake has run one of the most press-accessible campaigns in history while Katie Hobbs refuses to debate, runs from reporters, and hides in her basement.”
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