Who knew a far-right election denier would do Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs' bidding?

Liz Harris speaks during a Turning Point Action event at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler on Aug. 27, 2022.
Liz Harris speaks during a Turning Point Action event at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler on Aug. 27, 2022.

Gov. Katie Hobbs and Arizona’s Democratic legislators have found a new ally in the most unlikeliest of places.

Republican Rep. Liz Harris on Monday joined with Democrats to torpedo the Republicans’ “skinny budget” – the one that was supposed to put Hobbs in a tough spot and the Republicans in the driver’s seat.

As a strategy – demanding that Hobbs pass a continuation of last year’s budget before they will negotiate any additional spending – the “skinny budget” was always a waste of time. Hobbs has a veto stamp and I imagine she’s itching to use it.

But she won’t have to, thanks to Harris.

Harris sees 'foul play' in the 2022 election

Harris, R-Chandler, is one of the Republican Party’s fiercest election deniers, a far-right firebrand who upon being elected to the Legislature last year promptly announced she wouldn’t be voting on any bills until and unless there’s a redo of the 2022 election.

Maybe you recall her from the Senate audit days, when she ran that absurd door knocking campaign and claimed to have found massive fraud in the 2020 election. Her findings were debunked in about a minute and a half.

Still, somehow, Harris managed to get herself elected to the Legislature in November wherein she immediately vowed not to vote on any bills, given “clear signs of foul play" in the 2022 election.

Hobbs will veto:Still, GOP lawmakers push controversial proposals

“How can a Republican State Treasurer receive more votes than a Republican gubernatorial or Senate candidate?” she asked on Nov. 17, just nine days after the election.

The answer to that is, of course, easily found if you analyze the data from the 2022 election. Moderate Republicans and independents supported Republican candidates, just not the ones endorsed by Donald Trump.

It’s a pattern that has held now in the last three election cycles, allowing Arizona Democrats to grab both U.S. Senate seats, the Governor’s Office, the Secretary of State’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office.

Republicans still cling to a one-vote lead in both the state House and Senate, with a number of far-right election deniers now in their ranks.

Is she willing to kneecap the GOP over it?

But only Harris, thus far, seems bound and determined to kneecap her own party. Given the Republicans' skinny hold on the Legislature, that’s enough.

When the “skinny budget” came up for a vote on Monday, Harris went with along with Democrats in voting no, stunning the bill’s sponsor, Rep. David Livingston, who quickly changed his vote to no so he could bring it up for reconsideration later this week or next.

Republicans had hoped to pass a continuation budget to corner Hobbs. If no budget is in place by July 1, the state will have to shut down. But if Republicans somehow managed to get their “skinny budget” on the books now, Hobbs would her lose her leverage and they would, once again, be in the driver’s seat at the state Capitol.

Or so their reasoning goes.

The problem is, Hobbs was never going to sign that “skinny budget”. It was a silly stunt – one that collapsed in even more spectacular fashion than a Chinese spy balloon.

Harris refused to talk to reporters after blowing up the Republicans’ strategy.

"When you go to work for the Epoch Times, come talk to me," she told The Arizona Republic’s veteran Capitol reporter, Mary Jo Pitzl.

The Epoch Times is an alt-right newspaper prone to promoting election conspiracy theories and COVID-19 misinformation. It is affiliated with the Fulan Gong religious movement.

Harris did Hobbs (and us all) a big favor

Assuming Harris sticks to her word – and she really should – Republicans will be forced to actually (gasp!) work with Democrats and pass a bipartisan budget.

In fact, assuming Harris sticks to her word, she’ll be killing every partisan bill being pushed by Republicans this year. Bills cracking down on drag queens, pronouns used by children and any teacher who dares to teach in a way that might make a child feel bad about his or her skin color?

Bills aimed at making it tougher to vote? Or to kill early voting?

All dead and Hobbs won’t have to ink up her veto stamp.

Henceforth, with Harris’ help, the only bills that will make it to Hobbs’ desk will be more broadly supported, bipartisan offerings – bills that will force Republicans to seek Democratic support or vice versa.

That’s a good thing.

That’s the way it should be in a deeply divided state, and I never thought I would ever say this but here it goes:

Thank you, Rep. Harris.

Reach Roberts at laurie.roberts@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LaurieRoberts.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Gov. Katie Hobbs has a far-right election denier to do her bidding