Katie Hobbs, Kari Lake set to participate in town hall event next week

Sep 27, 2022, 9:45 AM | Updated: 9:55 am
Arizona gubernatorial candidates, from left, Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake. (Getty Images Photos)...
Arizona gubernatorial candidates, from left, Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake. (Getty Images Photos)
(Getty Images Photos)

PHOENIX – Democrat Katie Hobbs and Republican Kari Lake won’t be debating anytime soon, but Arizona’s gubernatorial candidates are both scheduled to participate in a forum next week in Phoenix.

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is hosting an Arizona governor’s race town hall at 6 p.m. Monday at the Herberger Theater Center. It’s part of the USHCC’s annual national conference, which runs Sunday-Tuesday in Phoenix.

The forum won’t be broadcast live, but Univision will show it at 5 p.m. the following Saturday (Oct. 8), four days before the start of early voting in Arizona. In-person attendance is limited to 750 USHCC conference attendees on a first-come, first-served basis, with conference badges required to enter.

USHCC President Ramiro A. Cavazos and Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Monica Villalobos will join Hobbs and Lake as speakers at the hourlong event, which will be moderated by Univision anchor Leon Krauze.

It will probably be the last time Hobbs and Lake appear at the same event before the Nov. 8 general election.

Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, declined to take part in a televised debate sponsored by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission. Lake, a former local TV anchor making her first run for office, will be interviewed by local PBS host Ted Simons during the Oct. 12 time slot that had been set aside for a gubernatorial debate.

Hobbs gave her final response on Sept. 11 after weeks of negotiating to change the format from a traditional debate to a town hall. She cited June’s primary debate between the four Republicans vying for their party’s nomination, when the candidates constantly talked over each other and the moderator, as a reason she won’t debate Lake. Video highlights of that debate went viral and were the target of ridicule.

Neither Lake nor the Citizens Clean Elections Commission was interested in anything but a head-to-head debate.

The CCEC sponsors debates for all contested statewide and legislative races as part of its voter education responsibilities. The nonpartisan board was created as part of the Clean Elections Act passed by voters in 1998.

Monday’s town hall was already scheduled before the CCEC debate situation was resolved.

The two gubernatorial candidates shared the same stage, but at different times, once before this campaign season. Hobbs and Lake each had 20 minutes to discuss issues with a moderator during an Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry town hall on Sept. 7 in Phoenix.

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Katie Hobbs, Kari Lake set to participate in town hall event next week