Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema says she is quitting the Democratic Party to register as an independent, vowing to step down from the “partisan structure” of Congress, even as the White House says the decision will have no effect on which party controls the Senate.
Sinema announced the decision on Friday, saying that although “some people might be a little surprised” her decision “makes a lot of sense” since she has “never fits perfectly in a party box.”
“I never really tried. I do not want, “ she added. “Removing myself from the partisan structure – not only is it true to who I am and how I operate, I also believe it will provide a place to belong for many people across the state and country, who are also tired of partisanship.”
The White House claimed that Sinema’s removal from the party would not be “change the new Democratic majority control of the Senate”, with press officer Karine Jean-Pierre noting that the senator has “voted with the President 93% of the time on key, significant, and historic bills.”
Asked if Sinema gave “insurance” at the White House that she would continue to work with the Democrats, Jean-Pierre declined to divulge any details of discussions between Sinema and President Joe Biden, but stressed that she “has worked with us on the top priorities of this administration.”
Although she wouldn’t say if she planned to run for office in 2024, Sinema later told Politico she wouldn’t chat with Republicans, adding “Nothing will change in my values or my behavior.”
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Staying in the Senate Democratic Caucus alongside fellow independents Bernie Sanders and Angus King allows the party to retain its 51-seat majority. Democrats consolidated their control after November’s midterm elections, finally ending a 50-50 even split in the Senate and leaving Republicans with 49 seats.
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