Kari Lake – the Trump-backed election naysayer – attacked her Democratic rival as a “cowardly candidate” for deciding not to take part in a debate.
The 53-year-old Republican, who is involved in an Arizona governor’s race that is currently too close to call, again invited Democrat Katie Hobbs to join the debate.
Ms. Hobbs, 52, has so far refused to do so, arguing that Ms. Lake spent much of the Republican primary debate promoting conspiracy theories and repeated the false claim that the 2020 election was rigged.
When told Ms Hobbs did not want to appear because she believed any debate would be filled with “constant interruptions and distractions”, Ms Lake said she would challenge her opponent to say that on the debate stage.
“She keeps making excuses for not wanting to get on the scene and lay out her plan for Arizona,” he said.
“We have too many problems facing our state right now for a weak cowardly candidate to win and get to the governor’s mansion.”
Ms. Lake, a former television reporter, left the media after the 2020 election and became an outspoken supporter of Mr. Trump and his lies about the election.
He won a hotly contested Republican primary and now finds himself in a race with Ms. Hobbs that pundits and pollsters say is too close to call.
In an interview with CBS News Face the Nation last week Ms Hobbs was asked if she would change her mind about taking part in a debate.
“What I’ve focused on is opportunities like this where they can see us back to back and hear directly from us about the issues that are important to Arizonans and how we would govern without a circus like she created during of the GOP Republican primary,” he said.
Arizona law requires a debate, so on Wednesday, Ms. Lake will be questioned for 30 minutes by veteran interviewer Ted Simons herself.
Ms. Lake had called her press conference to release details of a new series of tax cuts she would push in Arizona as a way to tackle inflation and help the economy.
She did so after Democrats attacked her for not having such a plan.
The state party said in a statement: “In August, Lake claimed she had a ‘financial plan,’ but with less than a month until Election Day, Kari Lake has not released a comprehensive financial plan to address one of the top issues for Arizona voters. – stimulating the economy”.