Even Off The Ballot, Kyrsten Sinema Looms Large In Arizona

by | Oct 27, 2022 | Politics

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is not on the ballot this November, but that hasn’t stopped her from playing a central role in Arizona’s marquee Senate and gubernatorial races.Sinema has strongly backed Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s bid for reelection, even as Republicans have repeatedly used her as a foil to challenge Kelly’s qualifications as a moderate and a lawmaker independent of national Democrats. On the other hand, she had stayed relatively silent on state Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ run for governor, even as Hobbs, a Democrat, trails Republican Kari Lake, a far-right former news anchor with a specialty in election denial.AdvertisementBut in a statement to HuffPost on Wednesday, Sinema indicated for the first time that she supports Hobbs.“Arizonans vote for the candidate they believe best represents Arizona values, and that’s why I voted for Katie Hobbs for Governor,” Sinema said.Sinema’s role in the two races shows how her relationship with the state’s Democratic Party remains rocky at best after her refusal to budge on eliminating the filibuster, which contributed to the sinking of much of President Joe Biden’s initial agenda. And the outcomes of both contests could help shape how voters view Sinema’s own reelection bid in 2024, when she is likely to face a serious primary challenge.“If Mark wins, that’s probably bad for Sinema’s future in the Democratic Party,” said one Democratic strategist in the state, requesting anonymity in order to speak candidly. “And if Mark loses, there will be a freakout that shores up her standing.”AdvertisementSinema has donated $10,000 to Kelly’s campaign and $60,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. She’s also hosted a fundraiser for Kelly and sent out multiple fundraising messages to her own extensive email list, providing a further boost to Kelly’s already high-powered fundraising efforts.“Over the past two years, Mark has been a great partner in our work securing the border, strengthening Arizona’s water future, and lowering prices for everyday Arizona families,” Sinema told The Arizona Republic last week, ticking off three issues where she and Kelly have both tried to separate themselves from …

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