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Panel rejects Hobbs effort to change governor debate

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Ross D. Franklin
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AP Photo
Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs speaks to the media before dropping off her primary election ballot, Tuesday, July 21, 2022, in Scottsdale, Ariz. On Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, Hobbs declined to agree to a televised debate with Republican Kari Lake as both seek the Arizona governor's office, instead proposing individual interviews with the moderator.

The state commission that sets up candidate debates has rejected Democrat Katie Hobbs’ request to change a planned debate with Republican governor candidate Kari Lake into separate interviews with a moderator.

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission on Thursday instead gave its staff seven days to try to persuade Hobbs to participate in the planned Oct. 12 debate by offering minor changes to the format.

The commission vote came a day after Hobbs and Lake appeared at an Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry event where each was questioned separately by Chamber President Danny Seiden. That may be the only time the candidates appear at the same event if Hobbs won't agree to the scheduled Oct. 12 televised debate.

Hobbs’ campaign manager addressed the commission before its decision, pointing to Lake’s performance in the raucous June 29 Republican primary debate, which she devolved into chaos that she said made Arizona the subject of national ridicule.