POLITICS

Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema won’t seek reelection for US Senate seat

Mar 5, 2024, 12:57 PM

Image: U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Arizona, arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on May...

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Arizona, arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on May 9, 2023. (Photo: Drew Angerer, Getty Images)

(Photo: Drew Angerer, Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema announced Tuesday she will not run for reelection for U.S. Senate, clearing the way for a likely two-way race between Ruben Gallego and Kari Lake.

Sinema, in a statement, said she would not run again because her political approach “is not what America wants right now.”

Sinema, Arizona’s senior senator and the first female to hold the position, has served in the role since 2019.

“I love Arizona and I am so proud of what we’ve delivered,” Sinema said. “Because I choose civility, understanding, listening, working together to get stuff done, I will leave the Senate at the end of this year.”

What did Sinema do while in the US Senate?

Sinema’s willingness to work across party lines and target centrist voters, independents and Republican women helped her defeat Martha McSally.

She also focused on health care, education and veterans issues since taking office.

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Most recently, she spearheaded a comprehensive border enforcement bill that was eventually killed by Senate Republicans.

“The only political victories that matter these days are symbolic, attacking your opponents on cable news or social media,” Sinema said.

“Compromise is a dirty word. We’ve arrived at that crossroad, and we chose anger and division.”

Sinema switched party affiliations from Democrat to Independent in December 2022. She said at the time that she has worked with both parties but that, “Registering as an independent and showing up to work with the title of independent is a reflection of who I’ve always been.”

“And it’s a reflection of who Arizona is,” Sinema said.

What’s next for Arizona’s US Senate race now that Sinema isn’t running?

Lake, who lost the Arizona gubernatorial race in 2022, is the expected GOP candidate in the race for U.S. Senate. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb is also running on the Republican side.

Gallego, an Arizona congressman, has announced a run on the Democratic side and seems the likely candidate for the general election.

Polling in recent weeks didn’t favor Sinema in the event she did decide to run.

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When respondents were asked for their preference in a potential three-way race in a poll released by Noble Predictive Insights in February, Gallego led the way at 34%, followed by Lake at 31% and Sinema at 23%. Without Sinema, Gallego led Lake 47%-37% in that poll.

An Emerson College poll released around the same time showed similar results, with Gallego leading Lake 46%-39% in a head-to-head matchup, and a three-way race coming out at Gallego 36%, Lake 30% and Sinema 21%.

Democrats hold a 50-49-1 edge in the Senate, which would dissipate if the Republican candidate comes out victorious.

Danny Shapiro is the lead editor for digital content at KTAR.com in Phoenix. You can read more of his stories here.

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