Tulsi Gabbard Endorses Kari Lake, Says Katie Hobbs in Party of Elitist, Racist Warmongers

Tulsi Gabbard Endorses Kari Lake, Says Katie Hobbs in Party of Elitist, Racist Warmongers

By Corinne Murdock |

Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic congresswoman for Hawaii, endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and attended her campaign event on Tuesday. Gabbard denounced Lake’s Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs, decrying the Democratic Party as a group of elitist and racist warmongers.

Also in attendance at the forum in Chandler were Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters and Republican attorney general candidate Abe Hamadeh. The Arizona Young Republicans hosted the event, where hundreds turned out. 

Gabbard argued during the event that Lake was the obvious choice to protect Arizonans’ freedoms.

“It is clear eyes to recognize the threats to your safety, to our borders, to our communities, to our families, to our kids, that are coming from today’s so-called ‘woke,’ radical Democrat Party,” said Gabbard.

Ahead of the event, Gabbard endorsed Lake with similar remarks, echoing her sentiment that the Lake would prioritize citizens over establishment interests.

“Kari Lake isn’t afraid to call out the warmongering elitist cabal of permanent Washington and the Military Industrial Complex, and their propagandists in the mainstream media,” wrote Gabbard. 

Gabbard told Fox News that Hobbs’ refusal to debate was emblematic of the Democratic Party’s issue: that they refuse to engage in a conversation. Gabbard said that her former party was undermining our country’s values and ideals.

“They’re against free speech, they’re against democracy, they’re against freedom of religion, they’re against the very principles of this country: the God-given rights enshrined in this Constitution,” said Gabbard. “Meanwhile they’re pushing us further and further to the brink of nuclear war that threatens us, the very existence of the American people and the world.”

Gabbard has stated repeatedly that she no longer aligns with the Democratic Party on key issues, hence her support for right-wing candidates — even those backed by former President Donald Trump like Lake. Gabbard claims that the Democratic Party is made up of elitists, warmongers, woke-obsessed cowards, and racists.

Gabbard left the Democratic Party officially last week. She now identifies as an independent. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Gubernatorial Debate Rescheduled For October 23

Gubernatorial Debate Rescheduled For October 23

By Corinne Murdock |

The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission (AZCCEC) gubernatorial debate will take place on Sunday, following its postponement last week. Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake promised to attend, but not Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs. It’s unlikely Hobbs will attend, given her consistent refusal to debate Lake. 

Whereas before Hobbs had no Arizona PBS (AZPBS) or AZCCEC opportunities to showcase her platform due to her refusal to debate, Hobbs now has two opportunities: a special interview on Tuesday that caused the AZCCEC to split from AZPBS and the Arizona legislature to threaten to defund AZPBS, and the newly rescheduled Sunday debate. 

Battinto Batts, dean of Arizona State University’s (ASU) Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, defended the AZPBS decision to work around AZCCEC and the Arizona law on candidate debates. ASU owns AZPBS.

“It is our responsibility as a news agency to provide the public with access to the candidates who are running for office so they can learn more and make informed decisions,” said Batts. 

ASU President Michael Crow concurred with Batts’ sentiment, saying that while he didn’t direct AZPBS to make a special exception for Hobbs, he did stress the importance of doing so.

“[I] did indicate that we need to continue to fulfill our mission of unbiased and nonpartisan coverage of public figures and talk to important people in the public realm like Lake and Hobbs to have the public learn of their views, even if there is no debate,” stated Crow. 

AZPBS also offered Lake a one-on-one interview for Tuesday. However, Lake rejected the offer. She said she would only accept Tuesday’s invitation if it were reformatted to be a debate between her and Hobbs.

Hobbs accused Lake of avoiding difficult questions by refusing the invitation — similar to the accusations Lake leveled against her for months. 

AZCCEC partnered with KAZT/AZTV7 to host Sunday’s gubernatorial debate, scheduled for 5 pm. The AZPBS interview with Hobbs took place on Tuesday.

WATCH HERE: AZPBS CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS

Lake requested Hobbs to attend the Sunday debate multiple times. 

Lake dismissed rumors that she or her supporters were planning to protest Hobbs’ interview at ASU. 

Even so, Hobbs accused Lake of stirring up violence against her and ASU. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

The Katie Hobbs Debate Debacle Is Worse Than You Think

The Katie Hobbs Debate Debacle Is Worse Than You Think

By Brian Anderson |

“The debate debacle continues this morning,” the TV anchor said, laughing. “The never-ending story of Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs choosing not to debate her opponent, Kari Lake.”

That’s what Arizona voters heard last week as they woke up and turned on one of Phoenix’s most popular morning news programs. They’ve been hearing it for months.

Hobbs’ refusal to debate Lake, the Republican nominee, has become the defining story of the gubernatorial race, one that started out as a 20-year precedent-breaking decision and has morphed a larger-than-life narrative about the Democrat’s political judgment and skittishness, with multiple left-leaning media outlets, from MSNBC and The View to the Arizona Republic and the New York Times, all asking the same question: What in the world is she thinking?

Hobbs claims it’s because her opponent is too far to the right. In reality, her national headline-making stage fright has been going on for much longer than the general election.

It began in April when Hobbs declined to participate in a June 30th debate with her Democratic primary opponent Marco López, the former mayor of Nogales and chief of staff at U.S. Customs and Border Protection under President Barack Obama. With one exception, Hobbs was the only statewide candidate in Arizona who declined. López used light political pressure hoping to change her mind — he’d often ask the crowd: “¿Dónde está Katie?” — but, when approached by the local press in May, Hobbs’ campaign claimed that she had (conveniently) scheduled “multiple events in Tucson” on June 30th and couldn’t make the two-hour drive back to Phoenix.

López understood. So, he wrote a letter to the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, the government body that organized the debate, granting it permission to “reschedule the debate to a time and date that fits into the Secretary’s busy schedule” over the next 40-plus days. Hobbs declined to reschedule.

When June 30th arrived, a local reporter reached out to Hobbs for comment on her absence. She must have been pretty busy that day, what with “multiple events in Tucson.” But why were no photographs posted online? Oh, about those events, her campaign responded … um, they were canceled. The candidate had come down with a (convenient) case of COVID.

Three days later, Hobbs was spotted, mask-less, waving a flag at a crowded parade in Flagstaff. A superb immune system, indeed.

It wasn’t long after the general election began that Hobbs announced she would not be debating Lake, either. Instead, the Democrat demanded separate one-on-one TV interviews — but that’s not how the Clean Elections process works. Candidates who bow out are not rewarded for doing so. Hobbs insisted that Lake would create a spectacle if the debate format were not right, so the Commission held a formal meeting to appease her, during which its chairman asked her campaign manager point-blank: “Is there any scenario where Ms. Hobbs will share the stage with Ms. Lake in a debate?”

She dismissed his “hypothetical” question and refused to offer an alternate format, and the Commission ruled that the October 12th debate would go on with or without the Democrat in attendance. (Lake said that her opponent was free to change her mind at any time.)

The morning of October 12th, Hobbs joined MSNBC for a softball segment … a little too soft. Because Hobbs got a little too comfortable and accidentally blabbed to the host, as if in the middle of a private conversation, that “PBS is also giving me the same format that Kari Lake has.”

Oops. That secret arrangement wasn’t supposed to come out until after Lake’s interview that evening.

You see, Arizona PBS is the Commission’s official broadcast partner, a relationship that provides the station with unique access to high-profile debates in exchange for complying with the Commission’s rulings when candidates disagree. It turned out that Arizona PBS had struck a side-deal with the Hobbs campaign to shoot and air the one-on-one interview she’d been begging for, right as voters received their early ballots.

The Commission had no clue that the station violated its agreement — and wouldn’t have until it was too late, had Hobbs not accidentally revealed it on live TV. The Commission was forced to cancel the long-planned debate with hours to spare in order to find a new broadcast partner it could trust. In response, Lake held a press conference condemning Arizona PBS’ “backroom deal” with Hobbs, which a source informed her was made at the behest of Michael Crow, the politically connected and contentious president of Arizona State University. (ASU owns and operates Arizona PBS.)

Approached for comment the next morning, Crow denied directing the backroom deal with Hobbs but acknowledged that “he let his preference be known” to the station (which I am certain Arizona PBS interpreted in the exact way that Crow meant it). The Commission’s executive director described himself as “bewildered” by Crow’s political meddling — casting him as “the most powerful man in Arizona” other than the governor — and decried the appearance that “ASU was playing favorites with the candidates.”

Much like Crow, Mi-Ai Parrish, a managing director at ASU who helps oversee Arizona PBS, also “wouldn’t say who made the call to invite” the Democrat. Hobbs herself is similarly claiming now that “I wasn’t involved in those conversations” with ASU — which, again, is a strange series of denials coming from several people who insist they did the right thing.

A Republican state legislator has already announced plans to file a bill that will strip the state’s ties to Arizona PBS as a result of it circumventing the Clean Elections ruling. And, unfortunately for ASU, it doesn’t appear that Hobbs will be in a position to veto it.

Outside of vomiting on herself on-stage, I cannot fathom a single humiliation Hobbs could have endured in a 30-minute debate that would have been worse than the six-month headache of negative headlines her refusal has caused. Two separate polls released this month reflect that reality, finding that the Republican nominee enjoys a 3-point lead heading into Election Day, with even CNN’s Dana Bash acknowledging Monday that “the fact that [Hobbs] won’t debate has given Kari Lake a very wide opening.”

At the end of the day, Arizonans vote for who shows up — and, so far, Katie Hobbs hasn’t.

Brian Anderson is founder of the Saguaro Group, an Arizona-based political research firm.

ASU President Accused of Favoritism For Katie Hobbs, House Republicans Pledge to Defund AZPBS

ASU President Accused of Favoritism For Katie Hobbs, House Republicans Pledge to Defund AZPBS

By Corinne Murdock |

The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission (AZCCEC) accused Arizona State University (ASU) President Michael Crow of playing favorites by giving Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs the interview she wanted. Normally, AZCCEC and ASU’s Arizona PBS station coordinate debates between candidates. 

Last month, AZCCEC rejected Hobbs’ proposed alternative to a debate with Republican opponent Kari Lake: two back-to-back, individual interviews of each candidate. Since only Lake agreed to the debate terms set forth by AZCCEC, she was scheduled to have an interview in lieu of a debate on Tuesday. However, hours before Lake’s interview was to take place, AZCCEC learned that Arizona PBS (AZPBS) went behind their back to schedule a special interview with Hobbs next Tuesday — moving them to postpone Lake’s interview.

In a statement shared with multiple news outlets, Crow claimed that he wasn’t involved in a policy-level decision concerning the debate. However, he disclosed that he advised AZPBS that giving Hobbs airtime was necessary. ASU owns AZPBS. 

“But I did indicate that we need to continue to fulfill our mission of unbiased and nonpartisan coverage of public figures and talk to important people in the public realm like Lake and Hobbs to have the public learn of their views, even if there is no debate,” stated Crow. 

In response to Crow’s remarks, AZCCEC Executive Director Tom Collins asserted to reporters that Crow influenced AZPBS editorial decisions. 

Collins also said that it wasn’t acceptable for the AZCCEC to be involved in the kind of behavior exhibited by AZPBS.

“The issue here is the way AZPBS went about soliciting this particular interview and then having one candidate announce [it] on the day that another candidate — who had followed a specific set of rules that ASU had agreed to as well — [had their interview, which] made it look like ASU was playing favorites with candidates,” said Collins. 

AZPBS’ special exception for Hobbs prompted the Arizona House Republicans to take action. State Representative John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) pledged in a press release to introduce legislation to sever all state ties and support of AZPBS if the station didn’t cancel Hobbs’ interview. 

“It would be inappropriate for the state to continue its relationship with AZPBS, given its sabotaging of the clean elections debates that were approved by the voters,” stated Kavanagh. “The clean elections rules are clear. If a candidate refused to debate, their opponent (who is willing to debate) is eligible to have a 30-minute question and answer session.”

Kavanagh added that AZPBS was wrong for essentially lifting AZCCEC’s penalization for Hobbs. He predicted that AZPBS was setting a precedent to encourage future candidates to avoid debates.

“I believe the station’s decision to reward a candidate’s refusal to debate, by giving them free television time, is tantamount to making a partisan political contribution to their campaign,” wrote Kavanagh. “AZPBS needs to keep its thumb off the election scale and not shortchange the voters.” 

AZPBS offered Lake an interview as well, one also not arranged or approved by AZCCEC. However, Lake formally rejected that offer in a letter sent to AZPBS, Crow, and AZCCEC on Thursday. The letter, written by attorney Timothy La Sota, said that Lake would only come to the interview if it was reformatted as a debate between her and Hobbs.

“PBS & ASU have betrayed not only the Clean Elections Commission, but every voter in Arizona by going behind the backs of citizens to allow Hobbs to continue dodging a debate,” read the letter. “Any other format [than a debate] will result in the complete destruction of a 20-year tradition.”

Hobbs claimed that Lake’s refusal to the alternative interview was her opponent’s way of making a “spectacle.”

Hobbs also skipped the debate against her Democratic primary opponent, Marco Lopez.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

PBS Compromises Kari Lake’s Interview, Caves to Katie Hobbs’ Demand For One-on-One

PBS Compromises Kari Lake’s Interview, Caves to Katie Hobbs’ Demand For One-on-One

By Corinne Murdock |

For the first time in history, it appears that Arizona PBS has cast a vote for governor — and not for the candidate they owed a platform to on Wednesday. As it stands, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs got what she wanted while Republican opponent Kari Lake was left empty-handed.

Just for Hobbs, Arizona PBS ignored Arizona Clean Elections Commission’s (AZCCEC) decision and scheduled a one-on-one interview with Hobbs. The move by Arizona PBS forced a cancellation of Lake’s interview, which in itself was a consolation for voters that Lake secured with her unwavering willingness to debate. Lake had even advocated for Hobbs to have an open invitation to the debate; in this case, it seems no good deed goes unpunished. 

In response to the last-minute cancellation, Lake held a press conference outside the Arizona PBS building. Lake’s remarks triggered protestors nearby, who attempted to drown out Lake by shouting.

“Unfortunately, PBS and ASU have done a backroom deal with that coward [Katie Hobbs] to give her airtime which she does not deserve,” said Lake. 

Arizona PBS and its owner, Arizona State University (ASU), are taxpayer-funded. Lake asked voters to call the ASU School of Journalism, KAET-PBS, and ASU President Michael Crow to complain about the capitulation to Hobbs. 

“This is not an arm of the Democratic National Committee, and unfortunately it appears that’s what it has become. Walter Cronkite would be rolling over in his grave right now at what’s happening here,” said Lake. 

AZCCEC decided to postpone Lake’s interview because Arizona PBS scheduled an independent interview with Hobbs without their knowledge. AZCCEC shared in a public statement that they were surprised by Arizona PBS.

“This decision is disappointing, especially following the multiple attempts on behalf of all the partners involved in producing this year’s General Election debates, to organize a traditional gubernatorial debate between the two candidates,” stated AZCCEC.

Lake didn’t blame AZCCEC for postponing. 

Hobbs will be interviewed by Arizona PBS next Tuesday. Lake said that she would accept a similar invitation, but only if it was restructured to be a debate with Hobbs. Lake promised that she wouldn’t yell, wouldn’t interrupt, and would allow Hobbs to write the debate questions and bring an emotional support animal if necessary. 

“If she doesn’t appear with me, they should kick her out and say she should not be on the airwaves at PBS,” said Lake. “Show up like a grown-up and debate.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.