By Ray Stern || The Arizona Republic
Republicans in the Arizona House of Representatives are down one member following the expulsion of Rep. Liz Harris, R-Chandler, in a vote by her colleagues. But a new Republican will soon take over her seat.
House members expelled Harris on a bipartisan vote of 46-13 (with one Democrat home sick and not voting). Her ouster followed a House Ethics Committee investigation that found she committed “disorderly behavior.”
Specifically, Harris brought a guest to a public hearing who made unvetted accusations that officeholders, Mesa City Council members and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were part of a drug cartel’s “bribery” scheme. She also lied to the Ethics Committee about whether she knew her guest would make those accusations, the investigation found.
How will Harris get replaced, and who picks the replacement?
When a member of the Legislature vacates his or her office before their two-year term is up — whether by expulsion, resignation or death — Arizona law calls for a replacement by someone from the same party.
The secretary of state will “immediately” notify the chair of the appropriate party, which in this case would be GOP Party Chair Jeff DeWit. After the chair receives that notice, the chair or a designee must inform the precinct committee members in the departing lawmaker’s district of the vacancy. Harris was elected by voters in Legislative District 13, which includes much of Chandler and part of Gilbert.