Senator in Battleground State Not Running for Re-Election, Setting Up Fierce Head-to-Head Match-Up

Senator in Battleground State Not Running for Re-Election, Setting Up Fierce Head-to-Head Match-Up

Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who caucuses with the Democrats, announced Tuesday that she will not be seeking a second term.

Sinema’s exit from the race will likely set up a head-to-head match-up between Republican Kari Lake and Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego.

Both are the far-and-away favorites to secure their respective parties’ nominations in the primary elections in August.

Sinema became an independent in December after losing Democratic support in Arizona and facing a primary challenge from the left of her party from Gallego.

She drew the ire of Democrats by failing to get behind President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion dollar Build Back Better proposal in the fall of 2021.

Sinema, along with Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, was also unwilling to end the Senate filibuster rule in order to move through changes to election laws that her party and the president supported.

Most recently, Sinema had been working on a bipartisan border security bill that failed to garner the support it needed among Republicans to move through the Senate.

In a video posted on Tuesday announcing her decision to not run for re-election, Sinema said that she believes in working across the aisle, “but it’s not what America wants right now.”

“I love Arizona and I am so proud of what we’ve delivered,” she added. “Because I choose civility, understanding, listening, working together to get stuff done, I will leave the Senate at the end of this year.”

Sinema, whose Senate term capped a career in government that started in the Arizona House in 2005 and included time in the state Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, faced an uphill battle in trying to retain her seat.

Recent polling shows Lake and Gallego in a tight race, while Sinema was running a distant third.

In a Rasmussen poll published last month, Lake led both Sinema and Gallego.

With all three in the race, Lake, the 2022 GOP nominee for governor, held a 4-point lead over Gallego, 37 percent to 33 percent, with Sinema taking 21 percent of the vote.

With Sinema removed from the mix, Lake held a 45 to 42 percent over Gallego as 8 percent reported they were undecided, according to the poll.

The online and phone survey was conducted Feb. 21-26 among 1,001 likely voters in Arizona, with a margin of error of 3 percent.

An Emerson College poll released in mid-February showed Gallego with a 46 to 39 percent lead over Lake.

The online poll was conducted Feb. 16-19 with 1,000 registered voters, with a margin of error of 3 percent.


In the race for the Republican nomination for the seat, Lake holds a commanding lead over her nearest competitor, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, according to the polling site FiveThirtyEight. On the Democratic side, Gallego is considered “the only major candidate,” according to The Hill.

Lake, a former television news anchorwoman in Phoenix, responded to Sinema’s decision with an X post saluting the outgoing senator.

“Senator Sinema had the courage to stand tall against the Far-Left in defense of the filibuster—despite the overwhelming pressure from the radicals in her party like Ruben Gallego who called on her to burn it all down,” Lake wrote.

“Ruben Gallego would be a radical departure from the representation we have had in Arizona. He votes with Joe Biden 100% of the time, supported the Iran Deal, sanctuary cities, defunding the police, and voting rights for everyone pouring across the border. He even called the border wall ‘stupid,’” she added.

Gallego wrote, “I want to thank [Senator Sinema] for her nearly two decades of service to our state.”

“Arizona, we are at a crossroads,” he continued. “Protecting abortion access, tackling housing affordability, securing our water supply, defending our democracy — all of this and more is on the line. It’s time Democrats, Independents, and Republicans come together and reject Kari Lake and her dangerous positions.”

The Arizona Senate battle could decide control of the closely divided chamber when a new Congress opens in January.

Democrats currently hold 48 seats in the Senate, but because three independents caucus with the party — Sinema and Sens. Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont — they hold a working majority over the Republicans’ 49 seats.

Nationwide Democrats will be defending 23 seats to the Republicans’ 11 in November’s election.

Manchin announced his retirement last year, and that seat is expected to flip to the GOP.

The Cook Political Report rates the races for Democratic-held seats in Arizona, Montana and Ohio as toss-ups, while the contests in the swing states of Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are all rated as “lean Democrat.”

Disclosure: Floyd Brown, one of the owners and founder of The Western Journal, is serving on a volunteer basis as chairman of Kari Lake’s Senate campaign.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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