Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, D., appeared uncomfortable when facing questions about not debating her gubernatorial opponent, Republican Kari Lake, during an interview on ABC Friday.
Hobbs spoke with hosts T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach on the upcoming governor’s race. Robach asked Hobbs about her refusal to debate Lake at any point during the campaign.
“Why not challenge her, though, in a public forum? I’m just curious,” Robach asked.
After stammering, Hobbs answered, “As far as I’m concerned, the debate about debates is over. I’m running my campaign the way I’m running my campaign. I’m going to continue to make the case directly to voters.”
Holmes, however, continued to press the issue.
“The case you make to them and, not to belabor that point, is there are tough times for a lot of folks. We talk about the economy, inflation, and I know there’s a rising cost of living here. People are putting somebody in that office that they want to stand up and fight for them. At worst, it could come off as you’re scared to step on that stage. At best, you’re not willing to confront. We’re in a new era where sometimes, some politicians have been seen as bullies, and we’ve been taught since we were little kids that you got to stand up to bullies,” Holmes said.
He added, “You understand how that might come across? We want to send you to fight for us, but you won’t even stand on stage with her.”
“I have stood up to this bully for the past two years, and Arizonans have seen that, and I’m going to continue to do that,” Hobbs responded.
Lake has criticized Hobbs’ refusal to face her, suggesting that it comes from Hobbs’ inability to properly debate.
“She was asked a softball question a couple of weeks ago: name one good thing about the Latino community, and she spent the entire minute and a half saying ‘um’ and ‘uh’ and couldn’t come up with one thing. So I think she knows why she won’t debate. It would be like a birthday cake versus a chainsaw if she showed up,” Lake said on “Fox & Friends” Monday.
Robach also pointed out during the segment that Hobbs previously refused to debate her fellow primary opponents leading up to her nomination.
“That was a different story, and I won that by a wide margin, so it was not an issue. But when people like Kari Lake did everything they could to challenge the election results and try to overturn the will of the voters, I stood firm, and I continue to stand firm,” Hobbs said.
Fox News’ Elizabeth Heckman contributed to this report.