PHOENIX — Senator Mark Kelly has agreed to a debate with Republican opponent Blake Masters who is trying to take one of Arizona's two seats in the U.S. Senate.
The announcement came Friday that Senator Kelly responded and agreed to take the debate stage with Masters.
Backed by former President Donald Trump, Blake Masters emerged as the Republican nominee during Arizona's primary elections in August. The 35-year-old first-time candidate has spent most of his career working for billionaire Peter Thiel, who is bankrolling his campaign.
The debate will air on ABC15 on October 6 ahead of the November election.
Democratic nominee for Arizona governor Katie Hobbs has until 5 p.m. Friday to decide if she will take the debate stage against Republican nominee Kari Lake, but it sounds like she is not interested in participating.
Hobbs sent a letter Friday in response to the debate invitation that instead proposes a 30-minute town hall-style interview, separately, for each candidate with a host. Hobbs points to what she calls online ridicule surrounding the recent GOP primary debate stage. The letter states that she "will never participate in something that will make Arizona the butt of late-night TV jokes and national ridicule."
As Arizona’s top elections official, Hobbs endeared herself to Democrats with an impassioned defense of the integrity of the 2020 election, a stance that has drawn death threats. However, she's been weighed down by a discrimination case won by a Black policy adviser from Hobbs’ time in the Legislature.
Kari Lake, a former news anchor who walked away from her journalism career and was embraced by President Donald Trump and his staunch supporters, won the Republican primary for Arizona governor.
Lake's victory was a blow to the GOP establishment that lined up behind lawyer and businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson in an attempt to push their party past the chaotic Trump era.
Lake released the following video online in response to Hobbs' letter: