While Mehmet Oz defeating Gisele Fetterman (wait, I mean John Fetterman) in Pennsylvania remains my most wanted individual outcome in November, Kari Lake taking down Katie ‘Karen’ Hobbs in Arizona follows close behind.
If you were to put Hobbs in front of a camera and have her list out her policy positions, you’d think she was from Oregon, not a purple state. Never mind that her demeanor, voice, and look, scream “world’s greatest AWFL.” The topper has been Hobbs’ complete refusal to even be in the same room as Lake, much less debate the Republican.
Over the last few months, we’ve heard all sorts of excuses for why that is. Sometimes, Hobbs insists that Lake wouldn’t let her speak. Other times, the Democrat has alleged Lake would yell at her. Now, she’s got a new reason. According to Hobbs, who has the honor of running the worst major campaign in the country, debates just don’t matter.
Katie Hobbs defends decision not to debate Kari Lake in AZ.
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) October 23, 2022
Democrat Katie Hobbs said she doesn’t regret her decision not to debate her Republican opponent for governor, Kari Lake — a move that even some of her supporters don’t agree with given such a tight race.
“A debate never helps a candidate win,” the secretary of state told HuffPost after an event Saturday with about a dozen people at a restaurant in Glendale, Arizona. “I mean, it is — we’re talking to voters and I guarantee it’s not something they’re concerned about. I guarantee the person who is rationing their insulin or opening their refrigerator and figuring out how they’re going to put food on the table with the groceries they have left for the week … isn’t going to open their ballot and say, ‘Damn, I wish Katie had done a debate.’”
Those may be the words of the most out-of-touch human being on the planet. She truly believes she is entitled to the governor’s office without having to do anything to show respect to the voters. Debates may not always be cataclysmic events, but there are plenty of examples of candidates saving themselves by debating. Most recently, Herschel Walker went from being dead in the water in Georgia to right back in the thick of things with a strong debate performance.
Regardless, the issue here for Hobbs is simple: She’s losing. It’s one thing to brush off a debate when you’ve got a five-point lead in a year that fundamentally favors your party. It’s a completely different thing to spit in the face of voters while trailing for over a month in the polls. In fact, if you look at the polling average, what you’ll see is that Hobbs’ refusal to debate coincides with Lake’s surge into first place. The Democrat had led the race until early September but has been losing ground ever since. Doesn’t that directly counter the idea that voters don’t care about her not debating?
As to the assertion that no one opening their ballot will be thinking about the fact that she didn’t debate, Hobbs again misses the obvious. It’s not about the debate being a singular issue. It’s about the fact that voters expect candidates to put in the work. They expect them to express themselves under pressure because that’s part of the job of being governor. Anyone wanting to hold that office can’t just run off in terror every time they face the slightest challenge.
In other words, Hobbs’ refusal to debate says a lot about her inability as a leader and her lack of character. And contrary to her claim, voters do care about things like that. Further, I think Hobbs knows that. All of the excuses to not debate come down to her being scared. The Democrat is terrified that Lake will absolutely destroy her, and she’s right to fear that. The story keeps changing, but the flop sweat remains.