ARIZONA NEWS

Rep. Ruben Gallego, Arizona Democratic Party criticize Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s move

Dec 9, 2022, 9:06 AM | Updated: 9:24 am
(Getty Images Photos)...
(Getty Images Photos)
(Getty Images Photos)

PHOENIX – U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego and the Arizona Democratic Party criticized Sen. Kyrsten Sinema after she announced she was changing her affiliation to independent.

Gallego, who was thought to be a potential primary opponent for Sinema, issued the following statement Friday morning:

“Last month, the voters of Arizona made their voices heard loud and clear – they want leaders who put the people of Arizona first. We need Senators who will put Arizonans ahead of big drug companies and Wall Street bankers. Whether in the Marine Corps or in Congress, I have never backed down from fighting for Arizonans. And at a time when our nation needs leadership most, Arizona deserves a voice that won’t back down in the face of struggle. Unfortunately, Senator Sinema is once again putting her own interests ahead of getting things done for Arizonans.”

The headline of the statement was “Ruben Gallego on Sinema Abandoning the Democratic Party.”

State Democratic Party Chair Raquel Terán issued a statement that was critical of Sinema’s performance in office.

“Arizonans … need their voting rights protected and corporations to pay their fair share. Unfortunately in those areas, Senator Sinema has fallen dramatically short leaving Arizonans behind,” said Terán, a state legislator.

“As a party, we welcome Independent voters and their perspectives. Senator Sinema may now be registered as an Independent, but she has shown she answers to corporations and billionaires, not Arizonans. Senator Sinema’s party registration means nothing if she continues to not listen to her constituents.”

The state Democratic Party voted to censure Sinema in January, citing “her failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy″ — namely her refusal to go along with fellow Democrats to alter the Senate filibuster rule so they could overcome Republican opposition to a voting rights bill.

While that rebuke was symbolic, it came only a few years since Sinema was heralded in 2018 for bringing an Arizona U.S. Senate seat back into the Democratic fold for the first time in a generation.

Shortly after making her announcement, Sinema told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News nothing will really change about how she serves her constituents.

Sinema wouldn’t say if she’s planning to run for reelection in 2024 or speculate about how becoming an independent would affect her electorally.

“I think you know today’s announcement is just a natural extension of the work that I’ve been doing on behalf of Arizona for the last number of years in the United States Senate and before that in the U.S. House,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Rep. Ruben Gallego, Arizona Democratic Party criticize Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s move