Arizona attorney general debate gets heated as candidates discuss abortion, elections and experience

Attorney General candidates Republican Abe Hamadeh and Democrat Kris Mayes meet for a debate at the Arizona PBS studio on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.

By Ray Stern || Arizona Republic

The candidates for Arizona attorney general exchanged heated arguments on abortion, elections and job experience during a televised debate Wednesday, emphasizing their contrasting positions.

Republican Abe Hamadeh sparred with Democratic opponent Kris Mayes during the 30-minute event, as well as moderators Ted Simons of Arizona PBS and Stacey Barchenger of The Arizona Republic.

Sponsored by the Arizona Clean Elections Commission, the event was the only televised debate between the candidates and gave voters a brief yet detailed overview of some of the race’s most important questions. The debate is available to view at azcentral.com.

Hamadeh made clear he would enforce the state’s 158-year-old anti-abortion ban upheld last week by a Pima County judge and that he would not have helped certify the 2020 election in Arizona because of concerns over possible fraud. Mayes used his positions to paint him as dangerous to democracy and to women.

“My opponent apparently is OK with forcing the victims of rape and incest to carry to term,” Mayes said while discussing the pre-statehood law that mandates prison time for abortion providers. “That’s outrageous.”

Hamadeh said the attorney general can’t pick and choose which laws to uphold.

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