Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) has taken another significant step away from the Democratic Party in recent comments, increasing the chance that 2024’s senate race in Arizona may be among the most-watched in the country.
Sinema has drawn attention for meeting with Republicans and criticizing the leadership of the Democrats. She clarified to the audience that she did not caucus with the Democrats anymore, but is “formally aligned” with the party for “committee purposes.”
She also called the Democratic Party leadership “old dudes eating Jell-O” and “talking about how great they are.”
'Old dudes are eating Jell-O': Sinema tells GOP why she stopped attending 'dumb' Democrat luncheons https://t.co/Sn9rUNnKJi
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“I don’t really need to be there for that,” she said.
“That’s an hour and a half twice a week that I can get back.”
Sinema left the Democrats in December 2022, though maintained a cordial relationship that allowed her to keep her committee appointments.
The Arizona senator also issued a barb regarding Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), saying that she had “better tax policy ideas” than her colleague.
Sinema stated that many people “often assume that we’re the same person.” The two moderates often work together on legislation.
Sinema, a former anti-war activist prior to seeking office, has become a significant outlier on the political left. Her election in 2018 ended four consecutive Republican victories for the seat.
Sinema’s move to an independent registration also increases the chances of a contentious three-way race for the seat in 2024. If Sinema runs as an independent, she may face a number of potential Democratic and Republican opponents.
Leading names mentioned for each party are former Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) Democrats, 2022 gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and former Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ).
According to recent polling, such a race has already drawn considerable attention, with the three candidates drawing similar levels of support.
In one scenario, polling found Gallego at 34%, Lake at 26% and Sinema at 21%. Gallego would pull in 32% in another potential race, compared to 27% for Ducey and 23% for Sinema.