Kari Lake doubts electoral system and touts populist message in interview


Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake touted her plans to secure the border, expand business skills training for high schoolers and reform elections in a 30-minute television interview Sunday.

The interview, filmed Saturday at AZTV7’s Phoenix studios, was the culmination of weeks of back and forth over whether the two Arizona gubernatorial candidates, Lake and Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs , would meet on a debate stage.

Hobbs refused to do so, and Lake didn’t let voters forget – raising the issue within the first minute of his interview, saying Hobbs “wasn’t brave enough to run.”

Instead of a debate, Lake took questions from Mike Broomhead, a conservative commentator who hosts a show on Phoenix’s KTAR radio station. He started by asking about the election, saying that’s what most people ask about in questions submitted to the Arizona Citizens’ Own Elections Commission, which sponsors the two-year-old debate series. decades.

Lake said she would work with the Legislative Assembly to clean up voter rolls, citing concerns that voters received multiple ballots, and reiterated his distrust of ballot counting machines, or tabulators. When Broomhead asked if Lake would end early voting, Lake did not respond. She previously joined an unsuccessful lawsuit filed by the Arizona GOP to end the practice.

Lake, the former Fox 10 anchor who questioned the election and falsely claimed Trump won in 2020, said she wasn’t convinced this election would be fair.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake tags the press "fake news" as she refuses to answer questions from the media after filming on the set of AZTV7 on Saturday October 22.  2022.

“We see problem after problem,” she said, blaming those problems on her opponent, Hobbs, who is the state’s election chief and who confirmed last week that 6,000 voter records had to be reviewed to ensure that the correct ballot was cast. “I wish I could sit here and say I have complete faith in the system, I don’t have faith in the system. And that’s why I’m going to work with lawmakers to find a way to have secure elections.”

With that in mind, Broomhead asked how Lake or any Republican could have confidence in the outcome of the election, even if she won.

“We need to vote en masse and we need to send a very loud and clear message that we want fair elections, we want a secure border,” Lake said. “So you have to come out and vote, and I think we can vote against some of the issues if we show up.”

Tom Collins, the executive director of the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, speaks to the press after Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake's 30-minute televised Q&A at AZTV7's studio on October 22, 2022.

It’s similar to the language Lake used after his August primary victory, when he was asked to reconcile his pre-election claims that there were “robberies going on.”

Broomhead did not ask Lake about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, which Lake has repeatedly said was corrupt, stolen and an outcome she would not have certified as governor. None of a series of lawsuits or the review of Maricopa County ballots by Arizona Senate Republicans has produced evidence to prove this claim.

Lake: “It’s not about me, it’s about us”

Lake’s candidacy to replace Republican Gov. Doug Ducey is that of an outsider: She has no elected experience, but she has used it as a boon, centering her populist campaign on Arizonans who want to see change.

“It’s not about me, it’s about us,” she said. “This is Arizona and we’ve got serious problems. We’re tired of politicians and career bureaucrats messing things up, not solving problems, and prolonging some of the problems that we shouldn’t even have to. face today.”

Lake emphasized his intention to work with the Legislative Assembly to prevent cities from taxing groceries and rentfill revenue losses with public funds from future budget surpluses and create dual-track education programs that would allow students who are not headed to college to get technical training. Paying for new programs and making up the city’s $400 million in lost revenue may become more complicated in the coming years as the The Joint Legislative Budget Committee forecast a significant drop in surpluses.

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She wouldn’t take a firm stance on which of two conflicting abortion laws she’d like to see in effect, a near-total ban first written down in 1864 or a 15-week ban passed this year, or what abortion policies she could sign. right. She said she was “pro-life” and, when asked if she supported exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest, said she thought these did part of the 15-week ban and that “the real death penalty should be meted out to the person who violates”.

The 15-week ban does not include exceptions except for medical emergencies.

Despite his needling of Hobbs for not debating and running away from reporters after an interview last week, Lake refused to answer questions after filming his own interview.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake at AZTV7's studio for a 30-minute televised Q&A with radio host Mike Broomhead on October 22, 2022.

“Katie Hobbs ran away, she ran away, I’m not running away, I have another event,” Lake told reporters who followed her as she left. “I just answered 30 minutes of questions, and I talked to you here, and I answer fake news questions every day.”

Lake has not responded to a question from the Arizona Republic since late July.

Choice of broom head eyebrows raised

The interview added another, potentially final, chapter to the debate drama centered on Arizona’s gubernatorial race, one of the nation’s tightest contests and tied in public polls.

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Broomhead makes no secret of his conservative beliefs and has said he doesn’t consider himself a journalist because he gets paid for his opinions. Clean Elections’ decision that he should answer questions, after first posing the question to several other reporters, raised eyebrows among Democrats.

“Katie Hobbs successfully answered tough questions about her overall policy plans to meet the state’s challenges from a nonpartisan moderator. Unfortunately, Arizonans can again expect a softball interview on Kari’s terms. Lake,” said Josselyn Berry, spokesperson for the Arizona Democratic Party. , said in a statement on Sunday.

Broomhead said he consulted with KTAR reporters for help in developing an unbiased approach.

“I went into this knowing I was asking questions on behalf of Arizona voters, so I didn’t do it for Republican voters,” he said after recording the interview. “I hope it shows that way when people see it, because I really wanted to ask questions that voters wanted to hear.”

Hobbs refused to debate Lake, whom Hobbs accused of only trying to put on a show. The co-hosts of the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission and Arizona PBS, which is hosted at Arizona State University, followed precedent by scheduling an interview with Lake, but that was abruptly canceled when Hobbs announced his own interview with the ASU affiliate station.

Lake tasked Arizona PBS with closing a behind-the-scenes deal to support the Democratic nominee, and Clean Elections severed ties with Arizona PBS. The nonpartisan commission partnered with AZTV to give Lake its question and answer session.

This aired on Sunday, with just over two weeks until Election Day.

“This is different from what we anticipated when we launched this process three months ago,” said Clean Elections executive director Tom Collins. “It’s different to have a Q&A than to have a debate. Our goal is to make sure we get information out to voters.”

Contact journalist Stacey Barchenger at [email protected] or 480-416-5669. Follow her on Twitter @sbarchenger.


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