Sen. Kyrsten Sinema Won’t Seek Reelection

Jacob Burg
By Jacob Burg
March 5, 2024Politics
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema Won’t Seek Reelection
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 31, 2023. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Independent U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona announced on March 5 that she will not seek reelection for a second term, preventing a potential three-way race in November.

Ms. Sinema made her announcement on Super Tuesday after the Senate GOP blocked a bipartisan bill intended to fortify the southern border while delivering additional military aid to Israel and Ukraine.

In working to negotiate the bill, Ms. Sinema hoped to bridge the gap between two political parties that remain at odds during a contentious primary and general election season.

“The only political victories that matter these days are symbolic—attacking your opponents on cable news or social media. Compromise is a dirty word,” she said in a video on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“We’ve arrived at that crossroad. And we chose anger and division. I believe in my approach, but it’s not what America wants right now.”

Ms. Sinema frustrated some on the left when she announced in December 2022 that she was leaving the Democratic Party and registering as an independent. However, she continued to caucus with Democrats and did not affect their slim 51-49 majority in the Senate.

Her move to drop from the race also avoids what many foresaw as a likely three-person match in November, where Democrats were expected to run their own candidate alongside Ms. Sinema and whoever wins the GOP primary.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, who represents Arizona’s 3rd congressional district, is running for the Democrats.

Currently, former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is fighting a primary with Sheriff Mark Lamb. Ms. Lake, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is leading the race.

With Ms. Sinema out, Mr. Gallego will likely face off against Ms. Lake in November.

During a White House press briefing on March 5, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reacted to Ms. Sinema’s decision to not seek reelection.

“Obviously, that is news. News to me. Look, we have had opportunities to work closely with the senator, in some really key important bills. She was one of the leading negotiators on the border security bill that came out of the Senate in a bipartisan way, we appreciate her efforts on that,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.

Ms. Sinema emphasized her efforts to work with Republicans on a number of key issues, including the economy and gun control.

“By standing up to short-sighted partisan ideas, I protected our country’s economic growth and competitiveness and kept taxes low during a time of rampant inflation,” she said.

“Bringing Senators John Cornyn, Chris Murphy and Tom Tillis together to tackle the intractable issue of gun violence, we saved lives and improved our country’s mental health care. These solutions matter. They make an impact in the lives of everyday Americans. And this is how government should work.”

Ms. Sinema, along with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) ensured that the filibuster—which requires 60 votes to proceed with most legislation—was not abolished despite other Democrats being for doing so to pass landmark legislation dealing with issues including voting rights. Going against the Democrat grain led to her receiving threats including intimidation from left-wing activists in a bathroom and at airports.

Ms. Sinema—whose demeanor of being unafraid included sporting a ring with the words “[Expletive] Off”—was unafraid to go against her own Democrats when she was with the party until 2022. This included being against President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill, which ended up with her agreeing to a revised version of it under what would become the Inflation Reduction Act.

Throughout her political career, Ms. Sinema evolved from being an anti-war progressive to a moderate who sounded the alarm on the border crisis that has affected her home state, which shares a border with Mexico.

Ms. Sinema was part of a bipartisan group of senators that recently crafted a border deal that became part of a bill that also included assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific. That $118 billion Senate bill was killed by most Republicans and a handful of Democrats as the latter decried the border provisions as insufficient.

It would have mandated a border shutdown if daily illegal crossings averaged 5,000 over a given week, although it would have included an emergency authority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to shut down the border if an average of 4,000 daily encounters were reached over one week.

The deal would have also limited President Joe Biden’s parole authority, a power that gives him the ability to allow more illegal immigrants into the country and raised the legal bar for the initial screening of asylum claims.

It would have also expedited the asylum processing time from many years to six months.

Prior to serving in the Senate, where she has been since January 2019, Ms. Sinema was in the House between 2013 and 2019, representing Arizona’s 9th Congressional District. She also served in both chambers of the Arizona legislature between 2005 and 2012.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

From The Epoch Times

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