OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney is confident about his prospects in his next election. He did not declare his candidacy for Senate in 2024 but he did say “I’m convinced that if I run, I win,” Politico reported.
“I’ve faced long odds: Getting the nomination in 2012 was a long shot, becoming a Republican governor in one of the most liberal states in America, Massachusetts. … So I’m convinced that if I run, I win. But that’s a decision I’ll make,” he said in the Politico interview.
But the path for Sen. Romney back to the Senate could be hampered more in the primary than in a general election against a Democrat.
Romney’s biggest threat is more likely to come in a primary than in the general election. With the state attorney general among the conservatives eyeing a challenge, Utah’s voters are near evenly split over whether Romney should run again — yet a Romney reelection is important to McConnell to demonstrate the party’s appeal goes beyond Trump, even as the former president’s critics vanish from the congressional GOP.
And McConnell is willing to put money behind it.
McConnell already demonstrated he’s willing to defend an anti-Trump Republican against an intraparty challenge, spending millions of dollars this year through his aligned super PAC to reelect Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). McConnell said in an interview that he’s “absolutely” willing to do the same for Romney, and is pushing his colleague for another bid.
“He’s been a really important part of our conference. People respect his intelligence, his assessment of the era we find ourselves in. And I think his running for reelection would be very important,” the Senate Majority Leader said. “It’s important for the Republican Party and the country that he runs again.”
His interview comes after Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema officially left the Democratic Party and changed her affiliation to 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.
She said: “Like a lot of Arizonans, I have never fit perfectly in either national party. Becoming an independent won’t change my work in the Senate; my service to Arizona remains the same. Arizonans who’ve supported my work expanding jobs and economic opportunity, or my opposition to tax hikes that would harm our economic competitiveness, should know my focus on these areas will continue.”