Arizona PBS removes Republic moderator from debate after objection from Kari Lake campaign

Stacey Barchenger

By Mary Jo Pitzl |Arizona Republic

An Arizona Republic reporter was removed as a moderator from Wednesday’s debate among Republican candidates for governor after the Kari Lake campaign complained about the reporter’s participation.

Arizona PBS, which is broadcasting the debate on Channel 8 at 5 p.m., notified The Republic late Wednesday morning that political reporter Stacey Barchenger would no longer serve as a co-moderator with “Arizona Horizon” host Ted Simons.

Arizona PBS did not immediately return a request for comment on the matter.

A Lake campaign official said the campaign didn’t request Barchenger’s removal.

Sam Stone, policy director for Lake’s campaign, said they only learned of Barchengers’s role as a co-moderator Tuesday and lodged their objection. However, there was never a threat to back out of the debate, he said.

“Stacey has clearly developed a fairly adversarial relationship with Kari,” Stone said, referring to coverage of Lake’s campaign.

At The Republic, Barchenger covers the Governor’s Office and the race for governor.

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