Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema Changes Political Status to “Independent”, But the Senate Dynamic Will Not Change

Posted originally on the CTH on December 9, 2022 | Sundance

December 9, 2022 | Sundance | 89 Comments

Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema announced she is changing her political affiliation to “independent”, a smart and strategic status considering her upcoming Arizona election challenge.

As an independent in the Senate, not much will really change as far as the voting and caucusing is concerned. However, from the standpoint of having to gain votes for reelection in Arizona and accepting the complete chaos that is now Arizona voting, the strategy will likely play well.

As a Democrat Sinema was likely to face a well-funded primary challenge from her left, while simultaneously she will likely face a strong opponent from the Republican side, by taking a place to avoid the primary and position herself as a third-party candidate, she can likely carve out enough votes to win a 3-way race.

(Politico) – In a 45-minute interview, the first-term senator told POLITICO that she will not caucus with Republicans and suggested that she intends to vote the same way she has for four years in the Senate. “Nothing will change about my values or my behavior,” she said.

Provided that Sinema sticks to that vow, Democrats will still have a workable Senate majority in the next Congress, though it will not exactly be the neat and tidy 51 seats they assumed. They’re expected to also have the votes to control Senate committees. And Sinema’s move means Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — a pivotal swing vote in the 50-50 chamber the past two years — will hold onto some but not all of his outsized influence in the Democratic caucus.

Sinema would not address whether she will run for reelection in 2024, and informed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of her decision on Thursday.

“I don’t anticipate that anything will change about the Senate structure,” Sinema said, adding that some of the exact mechanics of how her switch affects the chamber is “a question for Chuck Schumer … I intend to show up to work, do the same work that I always do. I just intend to show up to work as an independent.” (read more)

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