Arizona State Rep. Says He Will Defund PBS Due To Election Debate Fiasco

On Thursday, Arizona State Rep. John Kavanagh announced that he will introduce legislation to pull state funding from the television network Arizona PBS if the station does not rectify a recent decision involving an election debate.

Democrat Katie Hobbs and Republican Kari Lake were slated to debate next week on Arizona PBS, but Hobbs pulled out of the event.

However, Hobbs then agreed with PBS to appear in a one-on-one interview on the network on that same Wednesday night. As a result, the elections commission postponed an event with Lake that was scheduled that night.

In his statement, Kavanagh pointed out that election rules dictate that when a candidate refuses to debate, then the opposing candidate is entitled to a one-on-one interview. Therefore, granting Hobbs, who declined to debate with Lake, the one-on-one interview at the expense of Lake appears to conflict with Arizona’s election rules.

Kavanagh said he is prepared to defund the network over the mistake unless they rectify the situation immediately.

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

“The terrible decision by the heads of Arizona PBS, if uncorrected, will encourage future clean elections candidates to avoid engaging in a debate and deprive voters of information they need to make their voting decisions,” he continued.

Lake addressed the debate debacle during a press conference on Wednesday, indicating that she would support defunding the network.

“Katie Hobbs and her refusal to appear on the debate stage with me pretty much should’ve shut down her ability to even make it on the air at this station,” Lake stated. “But yet, they are so obviously in the tank for her that they’re giving her an opportunity to appear on this stage.”

“That’s wrong,” she concluded. “And we should look at that;
we really should.”

When Lake received the news that Kavanagh announced potential legislation to defund Arizona PBS, she responded succinctly.

“Can’t wait to sign this,” she tweeted.