Ruben Gallego to Run for Kyrsten Sinema’s Arizona State Senate Seat


Rep. Ruben Gallego announced he will run for the U.S. Senate in Arizona on Monday, setting up a potential three-way race in the battleground state in 2024 that threatens independent senators. Kyrsten Sinema takes the seat.

Gallego, a Navy veteran who has served in the House since 2015, announced his candidacy in a video produced in English and Spanish, highlighting his military service and upbringing as a first-generation American .

“The rich and the powerful, they don’t need more advocates,” Gallego said in a video showing him addressing veterans at the American Legion Post 124 in Guadalupe. Fight for them. “

Gallego also took aim at Sinema in a statement, saying she had “abandoned Arizona” and “repeatedly broken promises to fight for the interests of Big Pharma and Wall Street at our expense.”

Just a month ago, Sinema surprised Democrats in Washington by leaving the party and registering as an independent, saying the change “reflects who I’ve always been.” Sinema, a first-term moderate who has been involved in several bipartisan Senate deals over the past year, has yet to announce whether she will seek re-election.

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With more than $1 million in cash on hand, Gallego was the first Democrat to declare his candidacy in Arizona and became the early presumptive Democratic nominee after another possible candidate, the House of Representatives. Greg Stanton (D-Arizona), announced last week He will not seek this position. Gallego’s campaign plans to focus on mobilizing the state’s Latino and youth votes. If elected, the congressman would become the state’s first Latino senator.

Gallego’s bid presents a dilemma for Democrats across the country, who must choose between devoting vast resources to support the Democratic-nominated seat or supporting an independent incumbent who votes primarily Democratic but is unpopular with many of the country’s base . In past elections, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has supported independents with the Democratic caucus. The 2024 map to retain the Senate majority is brutal for Democrats defending 23 seats, and a three-way contest in must-win states will add to their headaches.

“The Democratic Civil War is raging in Arizona,” Philip Lesso, spokesman for the National Republican Senate Committee, said in a statement. “[Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer has a choice: Stand with open border activist Ruben Gallego or support his incumbent, Senator Kyrsten Sinema ). “

Sinema, who has an $8 million war chest, has drawn the ire of Democrats after several high-profile breaks with the party, including her opposition to a filibuster that passed more legislation in the Senate with 50 votes.but She also played a key role in negotiating bipartisan legislation that became law over the past two years, including a gun control bill, a measure to protect same-sex married couples and an infrastructure investment.

Gallego made no secret of his intentions to run for Senate, becoming An outspoken critic of Sinema and accused her of wanting the Democrats to lose in the midterms.

“I’ve been traveling state and country. Donating, raising money & encouraging people to come out and vote, I don’t see you at @SenatorSinema,” he tweeted last fall, just before she met Senate Minority Leader Mitch McCartney. Cornell (R-Ky) appeared together shortly after the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville.) Watch.

Strategists familiar with Gallego’s Senate campaign discussed internal strategy on condition of anonymity, said it would rely on his upbringing in poverty and his desire to help others in similar situations, in contrast to Sinema’s record in the Senate, where they noted her opposition helped shrink $3.5 trillion in Social Security. Net Act. In the announcement video, Gallego also spoke about his struggles with PTSD after serving in the Marine Corps and his struggles as a single mother raising a child on a secretary’s salary.

Asked about Gallego’s run on a local radio show on Friday, Sinema declined to comment, saying Arizonans want to “get out” of politics after the midterm election cycle and that she is focusing on immigration and other issues. “I’m not really thinking or talking about the election right now, although other people are thinking about it. I’ve been focused on work,” she said.

Republicans are also keenly focused on a potential three-way contest, a scenario that some conservative strategists believe would make it much easier for Republicans win. Soon after Gallego’s announcement, Republican groups began attacking him for being too liberal for the country. Blake Masters, Kari Lake and Karrin Taylor Robson — all of whom have unsuccessfully aspired to the statewide office in 2022 — are considering running, The Washington Post previously reported.

Democrats see Hinema’s move as an independent candidate as politically strategic after some polls suggested she might struggle to beat Gallego in the Democratic primary.As an independent, her path to re-election That will be a tricky question that will depend on piecing together a coalition of moderate Republicans, independents and Democrats.

Gallego’s team decided to enter the race early to ensure he could raise awareness in Arizona, especially among the growing Hispanic community, according to a person familiar with his strategy. Gallego, who oversaw the campaign fundraising arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus last cycle, has been critical of Democrats for being slow to engage with the community and for using language that doesn’t resonate with most Hispanic voters, such as “Latinos.” the word.

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