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Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema says she will run for Senate next year

PHOENIX — U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said Thursday she will enter next year’s race for one of Arizona’s two Senate seats currently filled by Jeff Flake.

“I’m running for the United States Senate because I’m not giving up on the American dream,” she said in a video announcing her candidacy.

In the video, Sinema said the several years her family spent homeless was her motivating factor to enter politics and help people.

“I owe a large debt to my country,” she said. “I got my shot and now it’s my duty to help others get their shot.”

She also echoed her frequent calls for bipartisan solutions to some of the nation’s biggest issues, such as health care and tax reform.

“It’s time to put our country ahead if party, ahead of politics. It’s time to stop fighting and look for common ground.”

Sinema, a three-term congresswoman, said last month that she was considering entering the race for Flake’s seat.

Thursday’s decision was a reversal from May, when she told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Reality Check with Darin Damme that she would run for re-election.

Sinema will have competition in the primary: Phoenix attorney Deedra Abboud, a Muslim-American whom Flake defended after she was harassed online.

However, she will likely have the force of some big Democrats behind her. Two weeks ago, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer reportedly told Sinema he would back her campaign.

Flake’s ability to hold on to the seat was considered shaky. He was critical of President Donald Trump during the campaign and his recent book, “Conscience of a Conservative,” took the GOP to task over Trump’s rise to the White House.

The senator’s campaign tweeted after Sinema’s announcement that she is a “radical progressive who is out-of-touch with Arizona.” In a statement, the Arizona Republican Party called Sinema a “big government progressive” and said Arizonans will “send a Republican” back to the Senate.

The junior senator from Snowflake has watched his approval ratings fall, the White House has taken an interest in unseating him and he has at least one immediate challenge from his party: former state Sen. Kelli Ward announced last fall she was running against him.

Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit’s name has been floated. He served as chief operating officer for Trump’s campaign.

Former State Republican Party Chair Robert Graham has also been mentioned, but has said he had no plans to make a run.

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