Arizona Democratic Party rejects Katie Hobbs-backed candidate in chairman race

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs was dealt another blow this weekend after her hand-picked candidate lost the race to become state party’s next chair.

The Arizona Democratic Party voted Saturday in support of naming Yolanda Bejarano as chairwoman by a margin of 440 to 186.

The loss marks another major political blow to Hobbs, who had spent months aggressively campaigning for the other candidate in the race, Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo (a member of her transition team). In doing so, Hobbs marginalized herself from a number of high-profile elected Democrats — Mark Kelly, Adrian Fontes, Greg Stanton, and Ruben Gallego, among them — who were supporting Bejarano.

In the end, Hobbs’s choice didn’t even come close.

Her deteriorating relationship with Republican lawmakers and the business community — both resulting from failed power-plays instigated by Hobbs — on top of this weekend’s newest loss in the state party chair race leave Hobbs with few allies amid the ongoing legislative session.

Katie Hobbs mocks Republican legislators as “immature”

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs mocked state legislators as “immature” Friday and repeated her threats to veto Republican bills whose sponsors she does not like.

The comments came during a press conference at which the governor announced an indefinite pause on all executions. While she refused to answer some questions from journalists in attendance, such as her personal position on the death penalty, she responded to a question about whether her agency nominees “will be welcomed by the legislature.”

“It’s unfortunate that the legislature has chosen this early on to be as, frankly, immature and unwilling to work with us as they have demonstrated,” Hobbs said. “The legislature so far has not indicated their willingness to do that, at least not publicly, and it’s unfortunate because we have a lot of tough issues to tackle.”

The Democrat was then asked about whether she has “leverage … with the Freedom Caucus.”

“Well, if they want to get any of their bills passed, they’re going to have to work with me,” Hobbs responded. “I have a veto stamp in my office.”

Hobbs repeatedly has threatened to veto Republican-sponsored bills as leverage without success, an antagonistic posture resembling her failed power play against the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry after which the Democrat was mocked by capitol insiders as “incredibly weak.”

Katie Hobbs staffer saves timid boss from death penalty question: “She said she’s not going to tell you!”

PHOENIX — Have no fear! The violent criminals awaiting justice on death-row have been thrown a lifeline, courtesy of Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs — but, for the love of God, do not ask her any questions about it.

Hobbs, in partnership with Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes, announced Friday that all executions have been put on hold until further notice and that a review of the state’s capital punishment processes will be conducted by an independent commissioner.

However, the Democrat refused to disclose her own position on the death penalty when asked at a press conference following the announcement, stating: “I don’t necessarily think that’s relevant here … We just want to make sure that we’re studying the practices.”

Hobbs did an involuntary deer-in-headlines impression after a reporter in the audience pressed for more details about her death-penalty position, which is right around the time a staff member jumped in to save her.

“She said she’s not going to tell you!” the female staffer shouted. “How many times you want her to say the same thing?”

“Don’t make me use this boot,” Hobbs yelled at the journalists, who responded like a pack of laughing hyenas before moving on.

You can see a video of the exchange below:

Katie Hobbs chief of staff threatens to veto parental rights, transgender bill

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs’s chief of staff said Wednesday that a parental rights bill under consideration by the Arizona state legislature will be vetoed if it hits the governor’s desk.

The proposal, sponsored by Senator John Kavanagh, aims to strengthen parental rights in education as it relates to the transgender debate.

There have been countless reports in recent years of school administrators flouting parental consent by secretly referring to their young students with (so-called) ‘preferred pronouns’ — for example, ‘he,’ ‘she,’ ‘they,’ and more — that differ from the students’ biological sex. Senate Bill 1001 would prohibit administrators from doing so without the parents’ permission. It would apply to ‘preferred first names’ as well.

Further, Kavanagh’s proposal aims to protect religious freedom by preventing schools from requiring that their employees and contractors refer to students using these alternative descriptors “if doing so is contrary to their convictions.”

Kavanagh told Capitol Media Services that most parents “wouldn’t let their minor child get a tattoo, much less change their gender” and that “those decisions need to be deferred to when an individual’s an adult and can make a mature decision.”

After Senate Bill 1001 advanced through the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, Allie Bones, Hobbs’s chief of staff, said that lawmakers shouldn’t even bother trying.

“The Governor was clear in her State of the State that it’s time to focus on real issues,” Bones tweeted. “Going after LGBTQ kids doesn’t fit the bill. I hope the Legislature doesn’t waste anymore time on this, because it’s DOA.”

The threat from Bones — a former assistant secretary of state whom was hired as chief of staff in November — follows a series of similar veto threats from Hobbs herself.

Families protest Katie Hobbs after threat to defund Arizona’s ESA program

PHOENIX — Families across Arizona gathered in protest in front of the capitol this week after Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs threatened to defund the state’s popular school choice program.

The Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program gives parents more influence over their children’s education by allowing them to retain control of their tax dollars and use those dollars however best fits their children’s individual needs. Nearly 46,000 children are now benefiting from it.

Hobbs claimed during her State of the State address earlier this month that ESAs “will likely bankrupt this state” and, a few days later, released a budget proposal that would, if approved, defund the program in its current form. Although Republican lawmakers have already declared the budget provision “dead on arrival,” the governor is pushing forward.

Parents didn’t take that well.

“Is the public school model the only way to educate children, and should children only have access to that by being in that model?” one Mesa mother asked. “It just does not seem like there’s any reason why anybody would be against that ‘education for all’ model” offered by school choice.

Another mother working with Padres Unidos said that “she would, ‘declare war against anybody who wants to tear this program down.’” A local high school student who currently benefits from ESAs emphasized the importance of “being able to access our own tax dollars” that go toward “funding whatever education we need.”

Katie Hobbs laughs-off legislature’s investigation into her dark-money inauguration: “I don’t know what they’re trying to chase”

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs is laughing-off Republican lawmakers who want to investigate the dark-money apparatus behind her inaugural events.

3TV anchor Dennis Welch said during a Sunday sit-down with the governor that a Republican senator “told me last week” the events surrounding her inauguration are “something we might have to look into.” The anchor noted that “it’s not just T.J. Shope” and that other members of the state legislature also “have said that maybe that’s something they want to do.”

Welch was referring to a comment the senator made in early January that Arizonans “have the right to know as a citizen what … kind of contributions they’re getting.”

“I don’t know what they’re trying to chase,” Hobbs responded combatively. “We’ve been above and beyond what’s required by law in terms of disclosure, and so, you know, it’s fine. We don’t have anything to hide.”

Welch pushed back by reiterating that Hobbs and her team “haven’t disclosed the amounts” donated to her inaugural events and arguing that many people want to know: “Why are you choosing not to disclose all that?”

“We have done above and beyond what’s required,” the Democrat responded. “So I — you know, they can chase an investigation, but there’s nothing to investigate.”

You can read more about’s investigation into her inauguration here.

“Er …”: Katie Hobbs forgets the name of her election integrity task force

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs stumbled on television Sunday while trying to brag about her election integrity task force … because she couldn’t remember the name of it.

3TV anchor Dennis Welch asked Hobbs during an interview on “Politics Unplugged” about her sour relationship with the Republican-led legislature, many of whose members she has painted as conspiracy theorists.

“Well, I mean, that’s why we right out the gate created the election reform — er … I can’t remember the name of it,” Hobbs responded. “The election task force. The bipartisan election task force?”

The “Governor’s Bipartisan Elections Task Force” — which Hobbs attempted to reference on 3TV — was created via Executive Order 2023-03 on January 6. Three days later, the Arizona Freedom Caucus announced a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of her use of executive orders.

The governor has repeatedly dismissed criticism of Election Day operations in Maricopa County but also marginalized herself from other high-profile Democrats by pushing for Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, a member of her transition team, as the next chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party.

Hobbs’s awkwardness while failing to remember the name of her election integrity task force comes after she (1) fell asleep on stage at a Western Governors’ Association event; (2) told Univision’s audience to have a “happy holidays” even if they “didn’t vote for me”; (3) found herself unable to finish taking the oath of office due to her uncontrollable giggling; and (4) was mocked by capitol insiders as “incredibly weak” after a failed power play against the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Katie Hobbs threatens to “de-carbonize” Arizona’s economy at Kamala Harris event

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs announced Thursday that her policy agenda intends to “decarbonize” Arizona’s economy by 2050.

The Democrat embraced Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff as they arrived at Luke Air Force Base and then followed the vice president to a groundbreaking ceremony for the Ten West Link transmission line project in Tonopah. Other attendees included Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.

“This new transmission line is a game-changer for our region and a major milestone toward the Biden-Harris administration’s goals of a carbon-free power sector by 203 as well as Arizona’s commitment to a de-carbonized economy by 2050,” Hobbs said.

She then applauded “the leadership of the Biden-Harris administration,” adding, “Vice President Harris, thank you for your commitment to our state and for being here with us today. It is truly an honor.”

Harris responded later in the ceremony, “Governor Katie Hobbs, I want to thank you for your leadership and for welcoming us to this beautiful state.”

You can see a video of Hobbs embracing Harris and Emhoff below:

You can see a video of Harris praising Hobbs below:

Here’s the full list of secret donors to Katie Hobbs’s inauguration — or, is it?

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs’s team recently released a report to two local journalists allegedly itemizing all of the contributions to one of the Democrat’s inaugural funds, but questions remain about whether it is, indeed, the full list.

Hobbs has been under scrutiny for weeks after refusing to disclose the funding behind the dark-money apparatus that secretly paid for her inaugural events, despite acknowledging that she personally “signed off” on the apparatus.

After mounting criticism — several local journalists expressed concern earlier this month that special-interest groups were “buying influence with the governor,” and Republican Senator T.J. Shope confirmed that state lawmakers may “look into” what occurred — Hobbs’s team released a report that alleges to disclose the details.

A table containing the itemized expenses and contributions can be found by clicking the “Continue reading →” line.

But where did the report come from? And are the records comprehensive?

Capitol Media Services reporter Howie Fischer first reported the topline fundraising numbers (and several examples of contributors and affiliated dollar amounts) last week, with Arizona Republic reporter Stacey Barchenger first publishing the full list soon after.

Fischer’s article states that the records were “obtained by Capitol Media Services” but does not specify the origin of the list; it does, however, quote a prepared statement from Hobbs campaign manager Nicole DeMont. On the other hand, Barchenger’s article specifies that the list was “released by the campaign,” as opposed to the Governor’s Office, and quoted two Hobbs campaign representatives.

It’s also worth noting that the two-column table itemizing the contributions and expenses in the Arizona Republic article cites the “Katie Hobbs Inaugural Fund.”

As revealed in early January, the “Katie Hobbs Inaugural Fund” is only one of two 501(c)(4)s incorporated by the Democrat’s team around the inauguration. It appears that contributions to (and expenses by) the second entity, “An Arizona for Everyone,” were not included in the Hobbs report.

Continue reading Here’s the full list of secret donors to Katie Hobbs’s inauguration — or, is it?

“Dead on arrival”: Here’s what Republican legislators are saying about Katie Hobbs’s budget

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs’s budget proposal is receiving a chilly reception from members of the Arizona state legislature, many of whom describe it as “dead on arrival.”

The proposal, which Hobbs released last week, attempts to repeal Arizona’s school choice program and defund the Border Strike Force — and lawmakers are having none of it.

Republicans released their own budget on January 12 promising to “safeguard Arizona’s future,” with a number of members weighing in individually to express their dissatisfaction with Hobbs’s proposal:

Lawmakers recently acknowledged that they may investigate the dark-money apparatus that secretly funded Hobbs’s inaugural events.

The Arizona Freedom Caucus also announced last week that it will be filing a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the governor’s use of executive orders after the Democrat admitted in December that she is seeking to implement her policy agenda “without legislative approval.”