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Arizona gubernatorial candidates Kari Lake and Katie Hobbs on abortion, immigration and the economy

Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate on immigration
Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate says "we have a crisis on our border" 09:28

Washington — Arizona gubernatorial candidates Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, and Kari Lake, a Republican, discussed Sunday on "Face the Nation" the top issues facing voters in the state one month ahead of Election Day, making their pitch for why they should serve as Arizona's chief executive in one of the most closely watched races this cycle.

CBS News poll of likely voters published Wednesday found Hobbs and Lake deadlocked at 49%. Among registered voters in Arizona, Lake, however, trails Hobbs by nine points on how she handles herself personally.

Hobbs, who serves as Arizona's secretary of state, declined an invitation to debate Lake, who has embraced former President Donald Trump's false claims the 2020 presidential election was stolen. 

Hobbs told "Face the Nation" during an interview Sunday she has "no desire to be a part of the spectacle" surrounding her Republican gubernatorial opponent and accused Lake of creating a "circus" that does not benefit Arizona voters.

"At this point in the race with 30 days to go, our schedule in terms of forums is pretty much set. And I'm really happy with where we are in the plans we have to continue talking directly to the voters of Arizona," she said.

Katie Hobbs, left, and Kari Lake on "Face the Nation."  CBS News

But Lake, who will participate in a one-on-one interview Wednesday, said she has agreed to participate in "any and all" debates with Hobbs.

"I would love it if she would show up because I think there's a lot of important issues that the people of Arizona need to hear about,"  she said.

Both Lake and Hobbs appeared on "Face the Nation" for back-to-back interviews, during which they discussed the top issues facing voters. Here's what they had to say.


Lake has proposed Arizona join a compact with other like-minded states to carry out immigration enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border and said that she has spoken with other governors who have pledged to help Arizona.

"Article 4, Section 4 calls for the federal government to protect us from invasion, and under Joe Biden's lack of leadership, we just aren't seeing that," she told "Face the Nation." "And we have an invasion at our border, the cartels, these narco-terrorist groups have operational control. And they're using Arizona to smuggle people, to traffic children and to traffic the most dangerous drug we've ever seen, fentanyl. And so we're going to invoke our Article One, Section 10, basically, authority to take care of our own border and protect our own border."

Lake told "Face the Nation" that a failure of immigration policy by the Biden administration has led to a surge of fentanyl coming across the southern border, impacting not only people in Arizona but across the country as the drugs flow to other states.

"We're not going to back down and let our people be overrun with drugs, watch our children die," she said. "We can't keep having this happen. We're losing our young generation. So I hope that Joe Biden doesn't fight us because then it would really look like he is on the side of the cartels. And I don't think he wants the people to think that."

Hobbs, meanwhile, said Arizona has born the brunt of the failures of U.S. immigration policies, but she told "Face the Nation" that there has been "bad" immigration policy for decades.

"Trump has centered his whole immigration policy around finishing the wall and it's not done. But Biden does need to step up immigration and border security. Absolutely," she said. "Arizona is bearing the brunt of illegal drug trafficking, gun trafficking and smuggling. And we do need more border security. It's not going to get done by declaring an invasion at the border or dismantling the F.B.I., which is another thing that my opponent has called for."

Hobbs criticized Lake's plan, saying her positions are "empty rhetoric."

"She's not offering real solutions. When she talked about invoking the constitutional authority of the state, she's talking about declaring an invasion at our southern border," she said. "That would do absolutely nothing to increase border security, but it would bring untold levels of chaos into our state. It's not a real solution."


The CBS News poll found the 60% of Arizona voters believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and abortion is a top issue for Democratic voters in the state, though it does not rank as high among all voters when compared to the economy, inflation or immigration.

Lake told "Face the Nation"  that she would "follow the law" on limits to abortion in Arizona, which currently prohibits the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy. 

"We need to draw the line somewhere. I am going to be the executive of the state, the chief executive officer, and I will follow the law," she said. "The law right now as it stands is Gov. Ducey's law at 15 weeks, so we'll follow the law."

Lake said supports giving women choices when confronted with an unplanned pregnancy and argued that when women go to abortion clinics, "they're only given one choice."

"I will uphold the law, whatever that law is. And I want to see to it that we've save more lives," she said.

Hobs said on "Face the Nation" that she does not support Arizona's 15-week abortion ban and accused Lake of "entirely misconstruing" her position on abortion.

"Under a Kari Lake administration, we would have government-mandated forced births that risk women's lives. And her position is the one that's extreme," Hobbs said. "It's out of touch with where the majority of Arizonans are who support access to safe and legal abortion. And under her administration, women would not be safe."

Hobbs said abortion is a "very personal decision that belongs between a woman and her doctor." 

"The government and politicians don't belong in that decision, we need to let doctors perform the care that they are trained and take an oath to- to perform," she said.

The economy

The economy and inflation are top issues for likely voters in Arizona, according to the CBS News poll, and voters most concerned about immigration and the economy favor the Republican candidate.

Hobbs said she and her husband know acutely the struggles Arizona families face amid high consumer prices, having raised their family "through financial ups and downs."

"We have a comprehensive plan to address the rising costs that Arizonans are facing right now that will put money back in their pockets," she said. "We cut taxes on all kinds of everyday items like over the counter medication, school supplies, diapers, feminine hygiene products, we provide a state level child tax credit, and tax credits for people who want to go back to work in higher paying jobs to get career and technical education."

Election denialism

Arizona was among the states key to President Biden's 2020 presidential win, and he became the first Democrat to win the state since 1996. The results of the presidential election in Arizona were certified, and reaffirmed through a hand recount and review commissioned by Republicans in the state.

Lake, who has repeated Trump's baseless claims the 2020 election was rife with voter fraud, said Sunday that there are "major problems" with the state's election system.

"We can't speak out against our own elections," she said. "All I'm asking for is the ability to speak out when our government does something wrong. We should be able to speak out against it."

Lake said there has to be "honesty" restored in elections.

Unsupported claims about the integrity of elections has led to threats against election workers, and last week, a 64-year-old Iowa man was arrested after he was accused of threatening to kill Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman. 

Asked whether she supports federal and state prosecution of people who threaten election workers, Lake said "anyone who threatens anyone's life should be detained and questioned."

"I think we need to get back to where we have free speech and we shouldn't be threatening people, and I hope that they arrest that man and detain him," she said.

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