The Arizona senator declined to confirm whether sinema intends to run for reelection but stated in an interview that she does not anticipate the Senate’s procedures changing.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is switching from the Democratic Party to the Independent Party, which will shock both Washington and the Democrats’ slim majority.
The first-term senator stated to POLITICO in a 45-minute interview that she would not join the Republican caucus and suggested she planned to cast her ballot in the same manner as she had for the Senate’s four years. She declared, “Neither my values nor my behavior will change.”
Democrats will still hold a manageable Senate majority in the upcoming Congress, though it wo not be the orderly 51 seats they claimed, assuming Sinema honors his promise. Additionally, they are anticipated to have the power to appoint Senate committees. Sen. Joe Manchin( D-W. Va.), who has held a crucial swing vote in the 50-to-50 chamber for the past two years, will continue to exert some, but not all, of his enormous influence on the Democratic caucus thanks to Sinema’s decision.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was informed of Sinema’s decision on Thursday, but she declined to say whether she would seek reelection in 2024.
I do not think anything will change about the Senate’s structure, Sinema said, adding that Chuck Schumer will have to figure out some of the specifics of how her switch will affect the chamber. She claimed that she “never really fit into a box of any political party”— a description that also applies to her fiercely independent state and millions of unaffiliated voters across the nation— reflects her closely held decision to leave the Democratic Party.
The iconoclastic reputation of sinema is well-established. She moonlights at a winery in Napa Valley, competes in Ironman triathlons, and frequently hangs out during floor votes on the GOP side.
The 46-year-old claimed that switching parties is the logical next step in her political career, which has been largely based on her interactions with Republicans and Democrats. During the current 50-50 Senate, she played a crucial role in bipartisan agreements on infrastructure, gun safety, and same-sex marriage thanks to this strategy. Some Democrats are also enraged by it, especially her attempts to weaken the filibuster and her opposition to higher tax rates.
Her action will strengthen her GOP allies and give her Democratic detractors— both at home and on the Hill— more confidence. After her announcement is made public, Sinema said that “criticism from outside entities does not really matter to me” and that she would “hard run” because that’s mostly what I do on Friday mornings. “
In order to create “an environment where people feel comfortable and confident saying and doing what they believe,” Sinema stated that she is not directly lobbying anyone to join her in leaving either the Democratic Caucus or the GOP Conference.
Practically speaking, that entails carrying on with the loose bipartisan dealmakers in the Senate, some of whom will retire this year. She has already made contact with Sen. elect Katie Britt( R-Ala).
Sen. Raphael Warnock’s( D-Ga.) Tuesday reelection victory “delighted” Sinema, who previously held three terms in the House and as a state legislator before being elected to the Senate. Sinema asserted that she was not waiting for the Georgia runoff election results, which appeared to give her a real majority of the party for first time since 2014, despite the fact that Wardock’s victory will likely lessen the impact of her choice for Democrats.
She stated that her announcement is “less about the timing.” “It really comes down to me figuring out how to be the most productive.” How can I remain a truly productive but independent voice for Arizona while remaining true to my core values and the values of my state?
Sinema said during her immigration discussions with Tillis, “We are working together on unquestionably the most challenging political issue of all of our careers.” “I’m not sure if I can provide you with a response regarding our current location or our intended destination. We have a great deal of trust in one another, I can assure you of that.
Even though Sinema has frequently collaborated with a small group of Republicans, it’s difficult to imagine the GOP majority supporting his policy priorities in the same way that the Democrats do. The Senate has frequently prioritized judicial nominees over broad legislation under McConnell.
According to Sinema, she does not worry about how her work will be impacted by any future changes to Senate control. “Partisan control is a question for the partisans”, she said, “and not really one for me”.