Lake Tries to Force Debate at Town Hall

Katie Hobbs repeats that she won't appear on the same stage as her Arizona opponent
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2022 2:30 PM CDT
Lake Disrupts Town Hall With Call for Debate
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs speaks at a event in Phoenix in September.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Kari Lake was ready for her opponent to take the stage at an Arizona town hall, with a front-row seat in Katie Hobbs' line of sight. But that wasn't the organizers' plan: The candidates were to appear one at a time onstage while the other stayed in a holding room, NBC News reports. Lake was kicked out, after the Republican argued that she didn't know about the rule and that Hobbs should debate her, which the Democrat has declined to do. Witnesses said Lake made her case to the moderator and producer before agreeing to leave the room, but she addressed the audience first. "I don't think I should be trapped in my room," she said.

Joe Garcia, executive director of one of the sponsors of the town hall, said Lake was trying to shake up Hobbs. "She rattled her opponent. She was big, brash, and very larger than life, Trump-esque," he said of Lake, who's endorsed by former President Donald Trump and maintains he won the last presidential election. "Anyone who thinks she was there to follow all the rules doesn't know Kari Lake." The town hall was held Monday and aired Saturday, to allow Univision to translate the comments into Spanish for its viewers. The pre-event drama was not included in the broadcast. One organizer said the disruption was planned, which Lake's campaign denied.

Hobbs repeated Sunday that she won't debate Lake, per Politico. "I have no desire of the spectacle that she’s looking to create," Hobbs said on CBS’ Face the Nation. On the same program Sunday, Lake said she'll attend a debate next week with or without Hobbs. "I would love it if she would show up, because I think there's a lot of important issues the people of Arizona need to hear about," she said. (More Arizona stories.)

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