Committee rejects Hobbs’ debate changes, has 7 days to agree to format

Hobbs doesn't want to share a stage with Kari Lake.
Hobbs doesn't want to share a stage with Kari Lake.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 8:48 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs has a deadline of a week to come up with some sort of debate format that she agrees with so she and Kari Lake can have a televised debate this year. On Thursday, the Citizens Clean Elections Commission rejected Hobbs’ proposal to have the candidates do separate 30-minute town hall-style interviews with Arizona PBS’ Ted Simons, who is also the executive director of Clean Elections. But that would essentially take the debate out of the debate. The panel said it’s giving the campaigns seven days to come up with a debate format that includes both candidates on stage at the same time. If Hobbs doesn’t agree to a traditional debate, Lake will take the stage by herself on Oct. 12.

During Thursday’s hearing on Hobbs’ proposal, Citizens Clean Elections Commission chair Damien Meyer asked Hobbs’ campaign manager if Hobbs would agree to a traditional debate and she said she didn’t want to get into hypotheticals. She added she’d need details in writing about the rules.

The ball appears to be in Hobbs’ court because Lake has repeatedly said she has no problem debating her opponent. She reiterated that fact on Wednesday while talking to the media following a gubernatorial candidate forum in Phoenix. “I am absolutely ready, willing and able to Hobbs any day of the week but I’m not going to do a forum,” Lake said. “She can pick the moderator, she can write the questions but we must appear on stage together so that the people of Arizona can hear what policies we have.”

On social media, she praised the commission’s decision. “It’s becoming clearer every day that Hobbs’ strategy is to hide from Me, the Press and the Voters throughout the entirety of this campaign and run out the clock on the people of Arizona. Fortunately, the Clean Elections Commission refused to play into her game and voted down her proposal for a town hall safe space,” the statement said in a tweet.