In lieu of an actual debate, Arizona gubernatorial candidates Kari Lake and Katie Hobbs each appeared separately on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday to offer their vision for Arizona’s future. But in each of their one-on-ones with anchor Dana Bash, neither candidate could provide substantive responses to the prevailing issues dogging their respective campaigns.
After a brief question on inflation, Bash’s initial questioning of Lake centered on immigration, asking her if she felt the U.S. had a responsibility to accept those who reach the border seeking asylum. Lake demurred, describing those at the border as largely criminals who brought in drugs.
“Well, [the Department of Homeland Security] says that less than one percent of migrants encountered at the border have a criminal record,” Bash said.
“I’m going to have to disagree on that figure you put out,” Lake, a former reporter, said, before admitting she was unaware of the backgrounds of those at the border. She then speculated that migrants were trying to enter “unnoticed” because they had criminal backgrounds.
“Let me just tell you that this stat that I just cited comes from the Department of Homeland Security—less than one percent of migrants—and I know that you’re using language like ‘rapists’ and ‘criminals ’and so forth,” Bash said. “What I was asking you about are migrants seeking asylum.”
The conversation further devolved as it turned to the 2020 presidential election. Lake lamented that the media would not cover evidence of voter fraud and promised to have her team send such evidence to Bash, who pushed back on the claim and promised the media had covered said evidence or lack thereof. After a back-and-forth, Bash segued into a conversation on concession, asking Lake if she would concede if she lost.
“Will you accept the results of your election, Ms. Lake?” she asked.
“I’m running against a twice-convicted racist who cost the state taxpayers $3 million of her hatred for people of color,” Lake said. “I’m not going to lose this election because the people of Arizona will never elect a racist like Katie Hobbs.”
“My question is, will you accept the results of your election in November?” Bash persisted.
“I’m going to win the election and I’ll accept that result,” Lake said.
“If you lose, will you accept that?”
“I’m going to win the election and accept that result.”
While Hobbs’ interview was more composed, the Arizona secretary of state still struggled with her response to her position on abortion and her refusal to debate her firebrand Republican opponent. Hobbs repeatedly refused to say what she thought the law should allow or not allow when it comes to abortions in Arizona.
“The decision about abortion should be between a patient and their doctor,” she repeatedly said, later adding: “The fact is right now that we have very limited options and we need to get politicians out of the way and let doctors provide the care that they are trained to provide, the health care that their patients need. Politicians don’t belong in those decisions.”
Hobbs also tried to defend her decision not to debate Lake, even as Democratic operatives have labeled the choice “political malpractice.”
“Kari Lake has made it clear time and time again that she’s not interested in having substantive, in-depth conversations about the issues that matter to Arizonans. She only wants a scenario where she can control the dialogue,” she said. “She’s the one afraid of talking to voters where she’s at. We are doing everything we can to make our case directly to the voters of Arizona … There is a lot more ability to have a conversation with you without her interruptions and shouting to do that.”