Democrat Hobbs ends negotiations, won't debate Trump-backed Lake in Arizona governor race

Lake criticized Hobbs for refusing to debate, calling her "a coward."
Former Fox News Anchor Kari Lake speaks during the Rally To Protect Our Elections conference on July 24, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Arizona Democrat governor nominee Katie Hobbs confirmed Sunday that she will not participate in a debate with Republican nominee Kari Lake.

The announcement follows the state commission that sets up candidate debates on Thursday rejecting Hobbs' request to change the debate format to separate interviews with a moderator, according to local NBC-TV affiliate 12 News.

After rejecting Hobbs' alternative, the Citizens Clean Elections Commission reportedly tried unsuccessfully to get the now-secretary of state to participate in the scheduled Oct. 12 debate by offering minor changes to the format.

In asking for changes, Hobbs' campaign manager argued Lake's performance at a June 29 GOP primary debate made Arizona the subject of national ridicule.

Campaign manager Nicole DeMont also argued Lake mostly just wants to talk about voting irregularities in the 2020 elections.

Lake, who is endorsed by former President Trump, criticized Hobbs for refusing to debate, calling her "a coward."

Hobbs also skipped the committee's debate with her Democratic primary challenger, Marco Lopez," 12 News also reports. 

"Kari will keep her promise to the voters and debate," said Lake campaign spokesman Ross Trumble. "The empty chair across from her will show Arizonans just how little Katie Hobbs cares about them."