Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs went to new lengths last week to avoid being in the same room with her Republican challenger in the state’s gubernatorial race, Kari Lake.
Before a candidate town hall event in front of 200 audience members, Lake was ejected from the room.
Hobbs has made no secret of her refusal to go face-to-face with her opponent, but both were supposed to be onstage at different times for the pre-recorded gathering.
According to NBC News, Hobbs became agitated before she even came out on stage when she discovered that Lake was sitting on the front row in her direct line of sight.
Organizers approached Lake and told her that she was supposed to be waiting in a “holding room” under the event rules, but Lake said she had no knowledge of the rule and that Hobbs should come on out and debate her. Hobbs declined.
NBC News reported that organizers would not provide the network with a copy of the specific rules.
The standoff lasted for several minutes before Lake complied with Hobbs’ wishes.
If you're wondering why Katie Hobbs is afraid to debate Kari Lake… https://t.co/Av982Y8K62
— Jon Gabriel (@exjon) October 9, 2022
Polls show a virtual dead heat between the two, even with the abject refusal by Hobbs to debate her opponent. It became much more obvious in recent days why the secretary of state refuses to share the stage with Lake.
Asked on “Face the Nation” about her “week limit” for abortion access, Hobbs spilled out “no limit.” At another venue she was asked what she has “learned specifically from the Latino community.”
Hobbs’ obvious struggle to come up with a cohesive answer left little doubt as to why she will not face off with Lake, a former TV anchor.
Asked to explain why she refuses to debate Lake, the secretary of state defends herself by saying that Lake brings “chaos.” She accuses the Trump supporter of embracing false conspiracy theories over the 2020 presidential election.
Debates are a vital part of the U.S. political landscape, and it is entirely reasonable to expect two candidates for the same position to share the stage in an unscripted setting. Despite her protests, Hobbs’ refusal to do so said much more about herself than anything she said about Lake.