Reports indicate Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema plans 2024 re-election campaign as third-party independent candidate

 April 8, 2023

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) shocked Washington D.C. in December when she renounced her affiliation with the Democratic Party and declared herself to be a political independent, though she remains something of a left-leaning centrist who continues to vote alongside the Democrats on most issues.

Now it appears that she is set to infuriate her former fellow Democrats once more by running for re-election in 2024 as a third-party independent candidate, the Conservative Brief reported.

This reported development, if true, could actually pave the way for a Republican candidate to win the Arizona Senate seat if the votes of left-leaning and Democratic voters are split in a potential three-way race between Sinema, a GOP candidate, and whoever the Democratic Party nominates to run against her.

Third-party campaign in the works?

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the news that Sen. Sinema was making preparations to launch an independent third-party campaign for re-election in the 2024 cycle.

Sources indicated that Sinema and some of her staff held a retreat at an office in Phoenix during which there was a slide show presentation that included one with a timeline of important dates and deadlines in terms of a campaign.

Another slide was focused on the senator's "independent streak" and how she has frustrated both Democrats and Republicans but also been at the center of several bipartisan compromises.

Sinema has reportedly already filed the necessary paperwork to begin fundraising for the 2024 election but has not yet formally declared her independent candidacy, which must be done prior to April 2024.

Furthermore, in order to be included on the ballot in Arizona without being a major party nominee, the senator will need to collect at least 40,000 valid signatures from non-affiliated registered voters in the state.

Independent campaign plans confirmed

The New York Post reported that it had confirmed the substance of the Journal's report after it obtained photos of at least two of the slides included in the staff retreat presentation, which were apparently visible through a window in the shared office space.

An unnamed GOP strategist told the Post, "A three-way race in Arizona is a nightmare scenario for Democrats. Schumer’s hold on a slim majority is getting weaker every day."

Indeed, if Sen. Sinema does run as a third-party independent and not as a Democrat, that will force Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to have to scramble to find an actual Democratic candidate to run for her seat.

The Post noted that the offices of Sens. Sinema and Schumer declined requests for comment, as did the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which would play an integral role in finding and supporting a suitable candidate.

Possible replacement Gallego leading most polls

That search for a Democratic replacement for the now-independent Arizona senator may not actually be too difficult, as progressive Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) has been highly critical of Sinema even before she left the Democratic Party and had already made clear that he intended to launch a primary challenge against her, had she remained a member of the party.

And, according to FiveThirtyEight's compilation of polls, Gallego has a decent lead in nearly all of them over a variety of possible Republican candidates, including former Gov. Doug Ducey, unsuccessful Senate candidate Blake Masters, and failed gubernatorial candidates Kari Lake and Karrin Taylor Robson.

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