On Dec. 5, in her position as secretary of state of Arizona, Katie Hobbs certified her own electoral victory in the governor’s race. If a last-minute legal challenge by Republican candidate Kari Lake fails — and these things rarely succeed, so don’t holdeth out much hope — Hobbs will take office as the state’s next governor on Jan. 5.
Outgoing Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, graciously allowed her to participate in his stead at the Western Governors’ Association’s winter meeting at the Arizona Biltmore resort in Phoenix on Dec. 7.
Just two days after the ceremony certifying her victory, this was practically a coming-out party for her.
“Flanked by other governors and political dignitaries, it was her time to bask in the spotlight as the belle of the ball,” Elias Weiss of the Phoenix New Times reported Dec. 9.
“Instead, you hardly knew she was there.”
This wasn’t an overstatement. After making a big deal over the victory certification, Hobbs’ first major outing representing the state she’ll be governing couldn’t have bored her more, apparently.
“Hobbs didn’t utter a single peep during her time on stage at the winter meeting of the Western Governors’ Association,” Weiss reported.
“She spent most of the time with her head bowed, either tapping the screen on her cell phone or closing her eyes and appearing to be sleeping.”
Hobbs had agreed to take part in three separate panel discussions and a business session but did virtually zilch in both.
“She was joined on stage by more than a dozen panelists, each of whom spoke at length about policy ideas, parleyed with each other, and asked questions,” Weiss reported.
“Hobbs was the only one to stay silent.”
The communications director for the Western Governors’ Association didn’t have any ready reason why Hobbs decided to act like a sulky teenager at the event, either.
“I don’t know why she didn’t participate,” Jack Spina said. “It was just a funky time having these winter meetings during an election year.”
And let’s just make clear the extent of her nonparticipation.
“She didn’t muster a single remark during a conversation with Tom Simplot, director of the Arizona Department of Housing, about the housing shortage in the state,” Weiss reported “Yet in early November, she announced her own plan for addressing affordable housing and was praised by housing advocates.
“At one point during the discussion, conference chair and Colorado Governor Jared Polis turned to Hobbs and asked if she had any questions or comments. She looked up from her cell phone for a fleeting moment to silently shake her head no.”
Thanks for the input.
The only person who can really answer why there was this level of nonparticipation is Hobbs herself. And, as the New Times discovered, that wasn’t going to happen.
“Can you have my office schedule something? I’d rather do it that way,” she told a reporter from the alternative paper when asked about her torpidity at the conference.
The reporter then informed her that her office didn’t communicate with the paper.
“OK, I’m sorry. Thank you,” Hobbs said. She then left — “briskly,” according to the reporter.
Arizona independents and moderate Republicans: Congratulations, you own this mess.
Sure, Democrats voted for Hobbs because they would have sooner voted for the ghost of George McGovern than Kari Lake. (The ghost of George McGovern may also, in fact, have cast a ballot for Katie Hobbs in Maricopa County somewhere, but that’s a thorny issue for another day.)
However, independents and moderate Republicans were given a choice between a candidate with a vision and a do-nothing Democrat whose selling points were 1) she wasn’t Kari Lake and 2) the media was all calling Kari Lake “far-right” and an “election denier” — so it must be true, right?
Hobbs refused to debate Lake, an extremely unusual situation in a close gubernatorial race where neither candidate was the incumbent. She also refused to debate her primary opponent.
Even The New York Times noted her habit of evading reporters on the campaign trail, titling a piece about her “Where’s Katie?”
But she doesn’t have to hide anymore; the media did its job and she was able to certify herself as the winner of the race. For four years, she doesn’t have to dodge reporters or debates. She doesn’t need the heavy lifting from news outlets throwing around the toxic “denier” label, all while she runs out the clock.
All she has to do is build a record of her own now — and that began at the Western Governors’ Conference.
What did she do? Practically nothing, just like on the campaign trail.
Nice work, squishy Republicans and indecisive independents.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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