Democrats Now Face Tough Choice in Arizona

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego will challenge newly independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2023 10:35 AM CST
Sinema's 2024 Race Just Got Interesting
Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., is seen in the US Capitol on July 14.   (Tom Williams/Pool photo via AP, File)

About a month after Kyrsten Sinema surprised Washington by leaving the Democratic party to become an independent, a big consequence: Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego said Monday that he planned to run for her Senate seat in Arizona in 2024, reports the Hill. His move sets up a likely three-way race in which Sinema (assuming she runs again) will have to fend off both a Democrat and a Republican. Coverage:

  • The choice: The Democratic party now has what the Washington Post calls a dilemma: whether to pour money into Gallego's campaign or be satisfied with Sinema, who caucuses with Democrats but has been known to buck the party on consequential votes.

  • Political calculus: Gallego's entry could split non-Republican votes and give the GOP an advantage in recapturing the seat. Potential GOP candidates include Kari Lake, Blake Masters, and Doug Ducey, per the AP. Democrats already have a grueling challenge in the 2024 elections, in which they have to defend 23 seats compared to the GOP's 10.
  • Gallego: The 43-year-old of Mexican and Colombian descent is described as a "liberal firebrand" by the AP. "I'm better for this job than Kyrsten Sinema because I haven't forgotten where I came from," he tells the outlet. "I think she clearly has forgotten where she came from. Instead of meeting with the people that need help, she meets with the people that are already powerful."
  • Potential first: Gallego would be Arizona's first Latino senator, per CNN. He speaks both English and Spanish in his video announcement Monday, one in which he talks about being raised by a single mom, an immigrant. "The rich and the powerful, they don't need more advocates," Gallego says in the video. "It's the people that are still trying to decide between groceries and utilities that [need] a fighter for them."
  • From the right: "The Democrat civil war is on in Arizona," says Philip Letsou, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, per the Post. "Chuck Schumer has a choice: Stand with open borders radical Ruben Gallego or back his incumbent, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema."
(More Kyrsten Sinema stories.)

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