‘It’s not a change in principle’: Lawmakers dissect Sinema change
While Sinema’s decision to become an independent is unlikely to have a ruinous effect on the Democrats’ ability to get things done with a narrow majority in the Senate, last week’s announcement added an asterisk to their margins already. narrow.
Sinema herself has said she has no plans to change the way she votes based on the change: “Nothing will change in my values or my behavior,” she said late last week.
Allred and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) acknowledged the possibility that Democrats could field a candidate against Sinema in her next election, if she chooses to run. By leaving the party, she would avoid a primary against supposed contenders, including Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona), and possibly run in a three-way general election in November 2024.
Sanders, who caucus with Democrats, said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ on Sunday that he wants to support candidates who have the ‘courage’ to champion corporate interests – and that Sinema does not. .
“I suspect it probably has a lot to do with politics in Arizona,” Sanders told CNN’s Dana Bash of why Sinema left the party. “I think the Democrats over there aren’t very enthusiastic about someone who helped sabotage some of the most important legislation.”
Sanders, who has criticized Sinema for opposing some progressive priorities in the Senate, did not face significant Democratic opposition in his election in Vermont. This is also the case with Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), but Sinema’s situation could be different if a prominent Arizona Democrat chooses to enter the race.
Sinema told CNN’s Jake Tapper that her priority was to avoid being “attached by partisanship.”
“I know it’s probably disappointing to people, but I’m not even thinking about electoral politics or talking about it at all right now,” she said in an interview that aired on “State of the Union” from CNN.
Saying he had “no bones to pick” with Sinema, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said Sinema’s change still leaves his future in the hands of Arizona voters.
“Elections are about choice. And Arizonans will now have the choice of whether a Democrat, Independent or Republican represents them in the United States Senate,” Tester said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (DN.D.) agreed Sunday that the decision was primarily about Arizona politics.
“There was so much pearl about his decision, but, in the end, it means nothing,” Heitkamp said on ABC’s “This Week.”