Katie Hobbs Attends July 4 Festivities After Bowing Out of Debate Due to COVID

Katie Hobbs Attends July 4 Festivities After Bowing Out of Debate Due to COVID

By Corinne Murdock |

Gubernatorial candidate and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs bowed out of last Thursday’s debate against primary opponent Marco Lopez due to a reported COVID-19 infection, yet was out and about on Monday for Flagstaff’s Independence Day parade. 

The CDC recommends that individuals with COVID-19 isolate for five days at least and not travel. If after five days the individual is asymptomatic or there’s no fever for 24 hours, then the CDC recommends that individuals wear a mask for five days when around others. If the COVID-19 illness is severe, then the individual should isolate for a minimum of 10 days. 

Hobbs didn’t appear to be masked in the event pictures she posted.

It is unclear when Hobbs became infected, but it appears that she recovered completely by Monday. 

Hobbs’ spokeswoman, Sarah Muench, informed The Arizona Republic in a Friday report that Hobbs missed the debate due to COVID-19. Prior to that, Hobbs didn’t issue any public statement mentioning her contraction of COVID-19. She was scheduled to attend other events that would’ve also conflicted with the debate scheduling, but reportedly had to cancel those as well due to her illness.

Lopez didn’t comment on Hobbs’ appearance in Flagstaff, though he was also in Coconino County for July 4 festivities. 

Watch the entirety of the Democratic gubernatorial debate-turned-interview here:

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

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Unveils ‘Clean’ Energy Plan

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Unveils ‘Clean’ Energy Plan

By Corinne Murdock |

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs published her plan for reimagining Arizona energy if she’s elected governor this November. Some of the major changes desired by Hobbs included total elimination of fossil fuels, creating a new bureaucratic body to oversee water and “clean” energy, tree planting in all neighborhoods, and rebate clean energy programs for those 150 percent below the poverty line.

Overhauling the state’s energy and water infrastructure to combat climate change will cost the state and Arizonans more than it would to maintain the status quo. Hobbs’ plan comes as Arizona voters feel increasing pressure from inflation. At present, Arizonans pay an average of over $5.35 per gallon for gas, with Maricopa County residents feeling the gas hike more acutely at $5.65 a gallon. They’re also paying an average increase of over $700 a month on household goods. That latter figure amounts to an average of nearly $8,800 more a year, according to the latest congressional research.

As AZ Free News reported earlier this month, the cost of electric vehicles alone haven’t proved feasible for most Arizonans, let alone Americans — a reality becoming more apparent with inflation. In March, less than 15 percent of Americans were estimated to afford an electric vehicle.

Hobbs’ plan didn’t include an estimated total cost. However, Hobbs did give dollar amounts for certain initiatives, amounting up to $295 million if she serves one term, and up to $575 million if she serves two terms:

  • up to $5 million a year to remove toxic chemicals from water
  • a one-time allocation of $15 million to build wells for rural Arizonans, Latinos, and indigenous communities
  • $15 million a year to restore forests and watersheds
  • $25 million a year in grants for communities and private landowners affected by wildfires
  • up to $25 million a year for preserving cultural and historical heritage spaces

Associated with some of these planned funding initiatives were disclosures that preference would be given to those aligning with certain social justice aims, such as combatting the urban heat island effect.

Katie Hobbs’ Plan for a Resilient Arizona” proposed three overarching priorities: securing and modernizing the state’s water infrastructure, addressing wildfires and sustaining natural resources, and building a “clean energy economy.”

The Republican National Committee (RNC) research team issued a lengthy rebuttal of Hobbs’ plan. In a statement, spokesman Ben Petersen criticized the timing of a plan that would raise energy prices in the context of inflation increasing prices on everything, most noticeably gas and groceries. 

“Democrat Katie Hobbs will struggle to explain her ‘Green New Deal’-esque scheme to voters paying record-high gas prices under Biden,” asserted Petersen. “Arizonans want more energy production and relief from the Biden Gas Hike, not Katie Hobbs’ far-left scheme to raise gas prices and energy bills.”

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero endorsed Hobbs’ plan. Last year, the city undertook a number of efforts to expand “clean” energy usage, which included requiring new homes to have electric vehicle charging ports. 

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

Arizona Politicians Reaction To SCOTUS Vote Overturning Roe v. Wade

Arizona Politicians Reaction To SCOTUS Vote Overturning Roe v. Wade

By Terri Jo Neff |

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Friday that there is no federal constitutional right to have an abortion despite the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. And the reaction was swift across Arizona’s political sphere.

Many of the comments focused on what most saw as a faulty ruling issued by the SCOTUS nearly 50 years ago to carve out a right to an abortion under the U.S. Constitution. Among them was Gov. Doug Ducey, who used Twitter to express his thoughts on that aspect of the SCOTUS opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito.

Another elected official who took to Twitter was State Rep. Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa) who retweeted an official statement released by U.S. Representative Andy Biggs.

State Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake) gave thanks to the six Justices who provided “victory for the unborn and states rights.”

Also reacting to the decision was U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema who expressed concern that government will stand between healthcare decisions she said are best made between a woman, her family, and her doctors. 

Sinema added that she will “continue working with anyone to protect women’s ability to make decisions about their futures.”

Others, like Maricopa County Attorney candidate Julie Gunnigle, immediately turned the ruling into a political battle cry. 

Similarly, current Arizona Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic nominee for Governor, Katie Hobbs used the ruling as fodder for her campaign.

However, Matt Salmon, a Republican candidate for Governor, took a moment to somberly reflect on what he called “a historic moment for the millions of Americans who believe in the sanctity of life.” Salmon,

Meanwhile, the question now for Arizonans is what impact Friday’s ruling with have here. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a statement advising that he expects the state’s newest abortion law to take effect in about 90 days. It bans the medical procedure 15 weeks after conception.

Arizona Won’t Hinder GOP Lawsuit to End No-Excuse Mail-In Voting

Arizona Won’t Hinder GOP Lawsuit to End No-Excuse Mail-In Voting

By Corinne Murdock |

Attorney General Mark Brnovich won’t challenge or appeal the pending ruling in the Arizona Republican Party’s (AZGOP) lawsuit to declare no-excuse, mail-in voting as unconstitutional. 

Solicitor General Brunn (Beau) Roysden pledged in a court filing to honor the ruling, whatever that may be. The AZGOP filed with the Mohave County Superior Court last Tuesday after the Arizona Supreme Court denied jurisdiction to the AZGOP. The AZGOP then refiled their case with the Superior Court earlier this month. 

“[The State of Arizona] agrees to be bound by the outcome of this litigation, including any appeals, with respect to the declaratory and injunctive relief requested,” stated Roysden. 

17 defendants were named in the lawsuit: all 15 county recorders, the State of Arizona, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

In their initial complaint totaling nearly 60 pages, the AZGOP claimed that Hobbs prevented enforcement mechanisms for valid signature verification by not adding those procedures to the Election Procedures Manual (EPM). Additionally, the party claimed that Hobbs lacked legal authority to implement drop box voting.

The AZGOP insisted that Hobbs’ actions were only possible due to a “longstanding deviation” from election procedures outlined in the Arizona Constitution. According to the party, Arizona’s no-excuse, mail-in voting system violates the constitution because several provisions direct voting to take place at the polls.

“Stated simply, Arizona’s ‘early voting’ statutes — which provide for the ‘absentee’ or ‘no-excuse mail-in’ voting — violate the Arizona Constitution, in whole or in part,” claimed the lawsuit. “[I]n-person voting at the polls on a fixed date is the only constitutionally permissible manner of voting.”

The AZGOP requested that the judge compel Hobbs to include the signature verification guide in the EPM, remove mentions of the drop box in the EPM, and cease enforcement of absentee voting laws.

However, should the courts decide that no-excuse, mail-in voting doesn’t violate the state constitution, the AZGOP requested a definitive explanation as to how the constitution permits absentee voting. 

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

Secretary of State, Gubernatorial Candidate Calls Focus On Border ‘Ridiculous’

Secretary of State, Gubernatorial Candidate Calls Focus On Border ‘Ridiculous’

By Corinne Murdock |

Secretary of State and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs declared it was “ridiculous” that the border crisis was a core issue for the governor’s race. Hobbs made the remarks during an interview with the Arizona Republic. 

Hobbs asserted that it wouldn’t matter how she talked about the border because Republicans would only twist her words. It is unclear whether her observation came from recent controversy over her apparent reversal on the Biden administration’s plan to rescind Title 42

“It’s ridiculous that we are talking about this as a core issue in the governor’s race,” said Hobbs. “I could stand here and say ‘Build the wall,’ and they’re gonna call me open borders. It doesn’t really matter what I say for the Republicans, they’re going to just misconstrue everything.” 

Hobbs’ latest statement appears to be a pivot from her remarks issued last October, when she insisted that alleviating border crisis pressures would be one of her primary focuses as governor. 

“The situation at our border puts pressure on all our communities. We have to reduce illegal border crossings in a way that promotes security and safety for everyone and most efficiently uses taxpayers’ dollars,” said Hobbs. “Arizonans need a leader who is learning from the officials who are on the front lines and understand this important issue best. I’m committed to listening, learning, and working on the ground to ensure our borders are secure.”

Hobbs also changed her perspective on the revocation of Title 42 recently. Within one month, Hobbs shifted her public message from supporting Title 42’s immediate end because it “isn’t working” to declaring that doing so would be a “rash decision” that would result in a “disaster.” 

Hobbs hasn’t been the only Democratic candidate for a state-level office to dismiss border concerns this week. Democratic congressional candidate and former state senator Kirsten Engel went one step further, arguing that the current state of the border doesn’t constitute a crisis. 

Engel issued that assessment during a Wednesday night debate hosted on “Arizona Horizon” by PBS. Engel’s Democratic opponent, State Representative Daniel Hernández Jr. (D-Tucson), contended with her denial of the border crisis. 

Hobbs and Engel represent a greater division within their party on the significance and reality of the border crisis. Hobbs’ opponents, Aaron Lieberman and Marco Lopez, have each offered their own takes. Lieberman has said he will defer to federal actors to work out the border crisis.

Lopez has insisted that rhetoric painting the border situation as dangerous was misleading. 

“There is no invasion,” said Lopez. 

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