This is what it took for Arizona Republicans to expel an election denier

State Rep. Liz Harris’s ouster is a rare case of the GOP policing its own when it comes to election-related misinformation. But there’s more to the story.|| Gage Skidmore

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez || The Arizona Republic

 For 40 minutes, the witness before a joint committee of the Arizona legislature unfurled her theory: A Mexican drug cartel was secretly paying off state and local government officials as part of an election-fraud scheme. Everyone from the governor on down was implicated. Even senior-ranking Republicans.

When a GOP state senator balked at the outlandish claims and asked the witness, a local insurance agent, who had invited her to the February session, she identified a first-term Republican, state Rep. Liz Harris.

From the dais, Harris motioned her hand across her neck in a gesture commonly used to cue silence.

In the two and a half years since Donald Trump falsely claimed victory in the 2020 election, Republican officeholders have rarely held their fellow party members accountable for originating or spreading misinformation about the electoral system. In Arizona GOP circles, the false claims have run particularly rampant, eroding support for democracy and costing taxpayers millions of dollars as lawmakers hunted futilely for proof that the vote had been rigged.

But the case of the Arizona legislator who helped perpetuate the groundless belief that the Sinaloa drug cartel was orchestrating election fraud ended this month with an unusual twist: She was expelled from office by her colleagues, Republicans included.

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