Kyrsten Sinema Is Calling It Quits

Independent senator from Arizona won't seek a second term
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2024 2:47 PM CST
Krysten Sinema Won't Seek Second Term
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona independent who has been central to Senate border security talks, leaves the chamber, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Arizona's first elected female senator is calling it quits after one term. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who left the Democratic Party to become an independent in 2022, announced Tuesday that she will not be seeking re-election this year, NBC News reports. "Because I choose civility, understanding, listening, working together to get stuff done, I will leave the Senate at the end of this year," she said in a video posted on X. The announcement came weeks after the bipartisan deal she spent months working on was shot down. "Compromise is a dirty word. We've arrived at that crossroad, and we chose anger and division," she said Tuesday. "I believe in my approach, but it's not what America wants right now."

If Sinema had stayed in the race, she would have faced long odds in a three-way contest with US Rep. Ruben Gallago, a Democrat who is running unopposed, and the winner of the Republican primary, the New York Times reports. Former gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, a Trump ally who supports his election fraud claims, is the favorite to win the GOP nomination. It's not clear which candidate Sinema would have pulled the most support from if she had stayed in the race, but she told donors last fall that her path to victory would involve winning the votes of up to 20% of Democrats and up to 35% of Republicans, along with a large majority of independents, NBC reports.

In 2018, Sinema became the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Arizona since 1994. When the Senate was divided 50-50, she angered Democrats by blocking progressive priorities including a tax hike on wealthy investors. the AP reports. In her message Tuesday, she slammed the current political climate. "Americans still choose to retreat farther to their partisan corners," she said. "It's all or nothing. The only political victories that matter these days are symbolic, attacking your opponents on cable news or social media." (More Kyrsten Sinema stories.)

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