But longtime Arizona political consultant Bill Scheel said polling shows that Sinema’s standing has collapsed over the last year and that she has lost support from the Democratic base. He pointed to a recent Public Policy Polling survey that showed Sinema, as an independent, trailing both Gallego and possible Republican candidate Kari Lake, proof that Sinema is “fading into irrelevancy,” Scheel said. Covey said that while Sinema is not polling well right now, polls should be taken with a grain of salt at this point in the election cycle. Sinema has not indicated whether she plans to seek reelection next year, but Covey and others said that if she does run, her chances will be heavily influenced by what Sinema does in the Senate over the next two years. When asked for comment on Gallego’s announcement, Sinema staffers pointed to her interview Friday with KTAR in which she referenced voter weariness with politics. “As I’ve been saying for months now, a never-ending focus on campaign politics is why so many people hate politics,” Sinema said. “We just got through a really grueling election cycle and I think most Arizonans want a break.”
Growing up poor, all I had was the American dream. It kept me going: as a kid sleeping on the floor, a student scrubbing toilets, a Marine losing brothers in Iraq.— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) January 23, 2023
Today, too many Arizonans see their dream slipping away. I’m running for the U.S. Senate to win it back for you! pic.twitter.com/ofUvUYRcTP
In Sinema, Gallego faces an incumbent with her own up-from-poverty background. She has said in campaigns that her family struggled to get by when she was growing up, even being homeless at one point. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a number of master’s and doctoral degrees from Arizona State University, an education she said was made possible with help from student loans, financial aid, and academic scholarships. Once considered a reliable member of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, Sinema has steadily moved toward the center since being elected to the Senate in 2018. With fellow moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, she has been able to block Democratic efforts to raise the minimum wage, help trim a massive infrastructure spending bill and halt efforts to do away with the filibuster, angering party liberals. Manchin and Sinema raised eyebrows last week at the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland when they exchanged a high-five over their success in preserving the filibuster – a tool that Senate Republicans have used to block legislation even though a majority of the Senate approves it. Scheel highlighted Sinema’s performance in Davos with Manchin, saying “it’s hard to imagine how she can consort with the economic elite like that in such fashion and believe that that helps her win an election in Arizona.” Sinema announced in December that she would switch from Democrat to independent, but that she would not caucus with Republicans in the Senate, allowing Democrats to keep their slim numeric advantage in the chamber. Covey said that could allow Sinema to keep playing the outsize roles they have played in the Senate. “Senators like Sinema can have a large role in impacting the Senate’s ability to get legislation done and impacting Senate Democrats ability to enact their own agenda.” Even if Sinema runs for reelection, Scheel believes the 2024 campaign will come down to a race between a Republican and a Democrat. In the meantime, Gallego is a credible – and only – Democratic candidate for Senate. Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Phoenix, announced last week that he will not run for Senate next year. Stanton tweeted on January 19 that, “after a great deal of consideration and talking through with the ins and outs of a Senate race with my family, I’ve made the decision that now is not the right time for me to run.”
In a natural extension of my service since I was first elected to Congress, I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington and formally registering as an Arizona Independent. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/jUQHAeuxym— Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema) December 9, 2022
A Native woman is speaking out after a video showing her confronting Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) has drawn millions of views, and sparked outrage, on social media.
Note: This story originally appeared on Cronkite News. It is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
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