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Mom of Democratic senators on party backing Sinema’s re-election

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  • Sinema’s departure from the party puts the National Democrats in a delicate position in 2024.
  • If she runs again, they will have to decide whether to support her, support a Democrat, or stay neutral.
  • Insider asked Democratic senators what the party should do. Most got no response.

Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s departure from the Democratic Party poses a conundrum for her former caucus mates if she runs for office in Arizona in 2024: Should they support her or support a candidate nominated by their own party?

Insider asked a handful of Democratic senators on Monday how they think the party should handle the re-election of their controversial colleague. So far, they are not ready to answer this question.

“I’m not surprised. He’s an independent person,” Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said of Sinema’s decision.

He, along with other Democratic senators, noted that little is likely to change in the Senate itself. “Overwhelmingly, his voting record lines up pretty well with those of us on the Democratic side,” Kaine said.

“It doesn’t change my life at all,” said Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. “We are still 51.”

Kaine declined to say whether the party should back her in 2024. “You think long before me,” he said. Whitehouse, meanwhile, said it would depend on “if she shows up with the party.”

Sinema, who in 2018 became the first Democrat to win a U.S. Senate race in Arizona since 1988, has yet to say whether she will seek another six-year term in 2024. But if she does, the general election could come down to a three-way race between her, a Democrat and a Republican.

“I don’t think anyone is announcing anything,” Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona told reporters, saying he didn’t want to get into “what if.” He added: “I worked very closely with her for a long time.”

Some have argued that Sinema’s independent turn is a calculated move, designed not only to avoid what would have been a deadly primary, but also to discourage Democrats from nominating a candidate lest they split center votes. left and put the seat back. at the GOP.

There is a precedent for the party welcoming independents: the senses. Vermont’s Bernie Sanders and Maine’s Angus King caucus with the Democrats, but are not official party members. Sanders has accepted — and then declined — his state party’s nomination in Vermont all three times he has run for the Senate, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the party’s campaign arm in the Senate, is remained neutral between King and a Democratic nominee in 2012 and did not get involved in 2018.

But Arizona Democrats are unlikely to simply give in to Sinema, despite his liberal stances on most issues. Democratic Representative Ruben Gallego is now openly discussing a possible Senate campaign, and in a statement castigating his decisionthe state party said Sinema “caters to corporations and billionaires, not Arizonans.”

Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, DSCC leader for 2022, also declined to say whether the party should back Sinema.

“I will continue to work with Senator Sinema,” Peters told reporters, noting that they both serve on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “We will work together.”

Beyond mere endorsements, national party support has financial implications. The DSCC spends tens of millions of dollars on competitive races to spur Democrats and attack Republicans.

“She is a very independent leader in the Senate and her new party affiliation fits that very well. She will always be part of our majority,” said Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who just worked with Sinema to prepare a bill protecting it. -sex and interracial marriage through the Senate.

But she also declined to say whether the party should back Sinema in 2024, welcoming the lift’s closure.

For now, Sinema’s decision appears to have little bearing on the Senate itself.

She said her job in the Senate would not change, and in a statement Friday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said she would continue to be a functional part of the newly expanded 51-seat majority of Democrats in the chamber, granting them a majority in committees and the ability to issue subpoenas.

Asked by reporters what he thought of Sinema’s announcement, Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware shrugged dramatically.



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