Ruben Gallego reaffirms interest in challenging Sinema in 2024 with broadside criticizing her party switch

Ruben Gallego
In this April 13, 2018 file photo, Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., speaks at a news conference to criticize President Donald Trump for his threatened strikes in Syria on Capitol Hill in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Ruben Gallego reaffirms interest in challenging Sinema in 2024 with broadside criticizing her party switch

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Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), in a scathing critique of Kyrsten Sinema, said the Arizona senator’s decision to leave the Democratic Party and register as an independent has not altered his interest in challenging her in 2024.

“Whether in the Marine Corps or in Congress, I have never backed down from fighting for Arizonans,” Gallego said in a statement issued Friday morning after Sinema revealed she was disaffiliating with the Democratic Party. “At a time when our nation needs leadership the most, Arizona deserves a voice that won’t back down in the face of the struggle.”

“Unfortunately,” Gallego added, “Sen. Sinema is once again putting her own interests ahead of getting things done for Arizonans.”

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Arizona Democrats grew disenchanted with Sinema over the past two years as she used her leverage in a 50-seat Democratic majority to stymie significant elements of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda. Gallego, 43, a fourth-term congressman, answered that frustration with suggestions he planned to challenge Sinema in 2024 in the Democratic primary.

The possibility of running against Sinema in the general election in a three-way race with a Republican does not appear to have cooled Gallego’s Senate ambitions. Sinema, 46, has not declared for reelection. But by registering as an independent, she frees herself from the burden of having to win renomination in a Democratic primary, a task that looked increasingly daunting.

Meanwhile, with Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) winning reelection and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs defeating Republican Kari Lake in the race for governor, Democrats such as Gallego are likely to view the 2024 Senate race as winnable for the party. Concerns about splitting the Democratic vote and empowering the eventual GOP nominee are likely to be minimal.

“Last month, the voters of Arizona made their voices heard loud and clear,” Gallego said in his statement. “They want people who put the people of Arizona first. We need senators who will put Arizonans ahead of big drug companies and Wall Street bankers.”

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Sinema plans, essentially, to continue serving as a functioning member of the Democratic majority, which will increase from 50 to 51 seats when the 118th Congress convenes in January. In a Twitter post, she described her decision to become an independent this way:

“In a natural extension of my service since I was first elected to Congress, I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington and formally registering as an Arizona Independent.”

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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