News & Politics

Sinema Faces New Challenges From the Left

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Az.) has turned into one of the most surprising Democrats in the upper chamber, making decisions based on principle rather than holding fast to the party line. As a result, she has faced backlash from the far left and even put up with harassment from demonstrators.

Now she’s facing new challenges. The first is from a group of veterans who serve on her advisory board. The International Business Times reports:

The group wrote a letter that slammed her unwillingness to listen to her constituents and help Democrats pass a vital part of the president’s agenda that aims to provide many social programs such as an extended child tax credit, universal pre-K, childcare, paid leave, free community college, expand medicare, provide housing, and combat climate change.

“You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people. We shouldn’t have to buy representation from you, and your failure to stand by your people and see their urgent needs is alarming,” the group wrote.

Sinema is also being targeted by those fine folks at MoveOn. They’re hosting a phone bank to encourage progressives from all over the country to put pressure on Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and “encourage” them to go for the full-blown Biden agenda. An email they sent out reads:

We know it can be frustrating to see such an essential agenda rely on two senators … who aren’t even your own! And those senators don’t want to hear from out-of-state folks. Fortunately, there’s a way you can use your time and energy effectively: calling the tens of thousands of MoveOn members in these states directly, to ask them to put constituent pressure on Senators Manchin and Sinema.

A third challenge that could be coming her way is a primary from a left-leaning candidate. CNN is reporting that progressive Democrats are looking for someone to primary Sinema in 2024, should she choose to run for reelection.

Related: Imagine That: Kyrsten Sinema Enrages Democrats by Representing Her Constituents

Democrats see the Arizona senator as a threat to their far-left agenda:

“There is a sense in which we no longer live in a democracy; we live under the tyranny of Kyrsten Sinema,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres, a progressive New York freshman. “I welcome the ideological diversity of the party. I can live with dissent. My colleagues and I have trouble living with what we perceive to be erraticism. The perception of erraticism is brought on by a lack of communication and clarity for where she stands.”

One of those potential challengers is Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Az.), who spoke to CNN — but wouldn’t commit:

“I think the sentiment that I’m hearing out there, voters in Arizona are upset with her, especially Democratic voters,” Rep. Ruben Gallego, a fellow Arizona Democrat, told CNN on Wednesday. “I think they support the President’s agenda, and they hope that she will, in the end, support the President’s agenda, pass reconciliation — the Build Back Better agenda.”

Gallego, who has been frequently mentioned as a potential primary challenger against her in 2024, pointedly did not rule out a run against Sinema.

“For me, all I care about is what happens between now and 2022,” Gallego said. “Those questions wait, wait.”

One Hispanic advocacy group, Nuestro PAC, is mounting a campaign to encourage Gallego to run, while other left-leaning strategists are testing the viability of potential challengers like Gallego, fellow Arizona Democrat Rep. Greg Stanton, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman against Sinema.

Gallego seems hopeful that Sinema will go back to sucking up to the left, as he told CNN:

Asked if he believes she could lose a primary, Gallego told CNN: “I think there’s a lot of time between now and 2024, a lot of time for the senator to put things right with voters in Arizona. And let’s hope she does it.”

At the end of the day, there’s a long time between now and 2024, and (as we always say) events can change things. And there’s no guarantee that Arizona’s voters will buy a more progressive candidate.