Sinema leaves the Democratic Party and declares independence

Sinema leaves the Democratic Party and declares independence

Arizona Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on February 1, 2022. Al Drago / Pool via Reuters

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a Democrat, revealed on Friday that she has registered as an independent but does not intend to caucus with Republicans, assuring that Democrats will preserve their razor-thin Senate majority.

Sinema, who has modeled her political strategy after the renegade approach of the late Arizona Senator John McCain, R, and has at times angered Democratic colleagues with her overtures to Republicans and opposition to Democratic priorities, stated that she was “declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington.”

The first-term senator wrote in the Arizona Republic that she entered office vowing “to be independent and work with anyone to achieve lasting results. I pledged I would not demonize people with whom I disagreed, engage in name-calling, or become distracted by political drama. I vowed I would never bend to party pressure.”

Additionally, her office issued a video announcement.

She noted that her strategy is “uncommon in Washington and has angered members of both parties,” but that it has “produced enduring results for Arizona.”

With Tuesday’s victory by Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia’s runoff election, Democrats were poised to have a 51-49 advantage in the Senate come January. The Senate is currently evenly divided, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote for the Democrats.

Sinema stated in an interview with Politico that she will not caucus with Republicans and will continue to vote as she has since her election to the Senate in 2018 following three terms in the House. “Neither my values nor my behavior will change,” she stated.

Thursday, Sinema told CNN, “I know some people may be a little bit surprised by this, but I think it makes a lot of sense.” I’ve never been able to neatly fit into any party box, nor have I ever tried.

She is up for reelection in 2024 and is likely to face a well-funded primary opponent after angering a significant portion of the Democratic base by obstructing or watering down progressive demands such as a minimum wage rise or President Biden’s major social spending projects. She has not stated whether she intends to run for re-election.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, who has a long history of conflict with Sinema, is her most notable possible primary opponent.

“When politicians are more concerned with denying the other party a triumph than with improving the lives of Americans, the people who lose are average Americans,” wrote Sinema. I joined the rising number of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the dysfunctional partisan system in Washington and registering as an independent in Arizona.

»Sinema leaves the Democratic Party and declares independence«

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