In what could be their only time in the same room before the general election, the two candidates for Arizona's next governor took part in a one-on-one forum with the Arizona Chamber Wednesday night.
Each candidate got 20 minutes to appeal to the state's top business leaders and lawmakers.
"Think fireside chat [rather] than toe-to-toe debate," said Arizona Chamber President and CEO, Danny Seiden.
With Republican Kari Lake watching from the audience, Katie Hobbs went first.
"This election isn't Democrats versus Republicans, it's about sanity versus chaos," said Hobbs.
The sitting Secretary of State promised, if elected governor, she wouldn't raise taxes. She'd be an advocate for public school over private school aiming for an equitable education system, and she said wants to expand on Governor Doug Ducey's $1 billion water protection plan in part through partnerships with other states.
On solving labor shortage issues many businesses have experienced following pandemic-related changes, Hobbs said it starts by finding workers in schools.
“We need to work to make sure our school systems and job creators are collaborating so that we're training kids for the right careers and building that pipeline for the jobs we're creating,” said Hobbs.
Once her time was up, Hobbs exited out the front door.
Lake wasted no time to break news. In her opening statement, she said in part, "I will not agree to a forum that my opponent wants.”
After Hobbs said she wouldn't participate in a debate with Lake in part out of fear of it being disjointed like the GOP primary debate, Hobbs asked the clean elections commission for a forum — Just like the one the Chamber put on Wednesday night.
Lake says she'll only do a debate, no forum. In a letter to the commission, Lake’s campaign also asked for a Commissioner to recuse herself since they once worked at the Arizona Secretary of State’s office and was appointed to the commission by Hobbs.
During the forum, the former TV anchor said if elected governor, she'd look to bring in water from other parts of the country. She too, vowed to never raise taxes for businesses.
On education, she slammed mask and vaccine mandates and said competition between public and private schools enhances learning.
She told the room of business leaders, government has no place in your business.
“I'm going to be the best governor for business, my philosophy is to get the government out of your business. The government can't even run the government and we sure as hell can't run your business,” said Lake.
In a one-on-one interview with ABC15 on Wednesday, Governor Ducey was asked about the possibility of there being no debate between Hobbs and Lake. Ducey said in part, he debated his opponents on the way to the Governor’s office, and each candidate this election cycle "will make those decisions and negotiate." "A lot of times there's horse trading along the way until they make the final decision,” he said.
Thursday around noon, the Clean Elections Commission will weigh Hobbs' proposal for a forum and no debate.