Aug 31, 2022 - Politics

Arizona's Katie Hobbs looks to burnish border security credentials in new ad

Katie Hobbs and Arizona sheriffs David Hathaway and Chris Nanos walk alongside each other
Screenshot of Katie Hobbs' TV ad featuring Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway, left, and Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos, right.

Katie Hobbs is casting herself as tough on the border in a new TV ad that aims to burnish her credentials on an issue that Republicans have made the centerpiece of their campaign against her.

Driving the news: The Democratic gubernatorial nominee's ad features testimonials from border sheriffs and fellow Democrats Chris Nanos, of Pima County, and David Hathaway, of Santa Cruz County.

  • They also make an obligatory appearance at the Arizona-Mexico border, a frequent campaign staple in Arizona.

What they're saying: "Katie Hobbs will deliver whatever resources are needed to keep you safe, my team safe, our state safe. She's not here to politicize the border. Katie Hobbs has a plan and solutions," Nanos says in the ad.

The other side: The Republican Governors Association (RGA) has hammered Hobbs on border security and illegal immigration, showcasing those issues in every TV ad it's run against her since the primary election.

  • "The drug cartels and sex traffickers are running wild because Joe Biden is too weak to stop them," a woman in one RGA ad proclaims. "Katie Hobbs would make the border situation even worse."

Kari Lake — Hobbs' opponent — released a statement saying, "Hobbs is literally on record saying 'it's ridiculous' that we're talking about border security in a governor's race. Katie's ad won't be taken seriously because nobody, including her, believes that she will protect our border."

Context: Hobbs has emphasized that immigration and border security are federal issues but says there are things the governor of Arizona can do, like provide financial resources for law enforcement in border communities and money for things like health care that are also affected by illegal immigration.

  • Her campaign spokesperson, Joe Wolf, said the ad was a response to voters who want to know where Hobbs stands on border security and support for law enforcement, not a response to RGA's ad campaign against her.

Yes, but: Hobbs told The Arizona Republic earlier this year that it was "ridiculous" that candidates were discussing Title 42 as a core issue in the gubernatorial race.

  • Title 42 is a policy Trump enacted early in the COVID-19 pandemic to expedite, on public health grounds, the expulsion of people caught entering the country illegally. President Biden unsuccessfully tried to end Title 42.
  • Wolf said Hobbs was referencing the way Lake and candidate Karrin Taylor Robson were distorting the issue and her views on it.

Of note: Hobbs earlier this year appeared to defend Biden's decision, saying Title 42 "isn't working" but later said lifting it would be "a disaster."

Meanwhile: Lake has made border security and illegal immigration central issues in her campaign, vowing to finish former President Trump's border wall, destroy tunnels beneath the border and even authorize Arizona National Guard soldiers to arrest people suspected of entering the country illegally or smuggling drugs.

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