OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Kari Lake, the former Republican candidate for governor of Arizona, may have a path to be elected as a senator from the state. A recent poll showed that the firebrand Republican would defeat sitting Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Democrat challenger Ruben Gallego.
“The survey, released January 11 by the website Blueprint Polling, imagined a scenario in which Sinema, a former Democrat turned independent who’s held her Senate seat since 2019, runs for reelection against Lake and Gallego, a Democrat who represents the state’s 3rd Congressional District. Lake, who rumors say is considering running for the seat but has not confirmed this, polled at 36 percent, according to Blueprint, well ahead of the two rivals. Gallego trailed closely with 32 percent, while Sinema ran a distant third with 14 percent,” Deseret News reported.
The poll said that in a three-way contest, one of six voters surveyed was undecided, which could assist Sen. Sinema in keeping her position.
Since leaving the Democrat Party last month, Sen. Sinema has gained support from Republican and Democrat voters and, the poll said that her best chance to stay in the Senate “may be for the Republican party to nominate a candidate so flawed that moderate and conservative voters would abandon that person for the Independent Sinema.”
Sinema officially left the Democratic Party in December and changed her affiliation to the Independent. Her move weakens Democrats’ already tenuous hold on the upper chamber. Prior to her announcement, Democrats had a 51-50 majority in the U.S. Senate.
In a guest column for the Arizona Republic, Sinema slammed “partisanship” and the stranglehold it has on both major parties. Sinema, who is up for re-election in 2024, said she will continue to caucus with Democrats.
“Everyday Americans are increasingly left behind by national parties’ rigid partisanship, which has hardened in recent years,” Sinema wrote. “Pressures in both parties pull leaders to the edges, allowing the loudest, most extreme voices to determine their respective parties’ priorities and expecting the rest of us to fall in line. In catering to the fringes, neither party has demonstrated much tolerance for diversity of thought,” she wrote. “Bipartisan compromise is seen as a rarely acceptable last resort, rather than the best way to achieve lasting progress. Payback against the opposition party has replaced thoughtful legislating.”
“There’s a disconnect between what everyday Americans want and deserve from our politics, and what political parties are offering. I am privileged to represent Arizonans of all backgrounds and beliefs in the U.S. Senate and am honored to travel to every corner of our state, listening to your concerns and ideas. While Arizonans don’t all agree on the issues, we are united in our values of hard work, common sense, and independence,” Sinema said.
Becoming an Independent won’t change my work in the Senate; my service to Arizona remains the same. Read my full Op-ed in the Arizona Republic 3/3 ⬇️https://t.co/P2JQXFT5IJ
— Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema) December 9, 2022
“We make our own decisions, using our own judgment and lived experiences to form our beliefs. We don’t line up to do what we’re told, automatically subscribe to whatever positions the national political parties dictate, or view every issue through labels that divide us. Each day, Arizonans wake up, work, and live alongside people with different views and experiences, usually without even thinking about partisan politics,” Sinema added.
“I promised I would never bend to party pressure, and I would stay focused on solving problems and getting things done for everyday Arizonans. Americans are more united than the national parties would have us believe. We’ve shown that a diverse democracy can still function effectively. Arizonans – including many registered as Democrats or Republicans – are eager for leaders who focus on common-sense solutions rather than party doctrine. But if the loudest, most extreme voices continue to drive each party toward the fringes – and if party leaders stay more focused on energizing their bases than delivering for all Americans – these kinds of lasting legislative successes will become rarer,” she wrote.
“When politicians are more focused on denying the opposition party a victory than they are on improving Americans’ lives, the people who lose are everyday Americans. That’s why I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington. I registered as an Arizona independent,” she declared.