Kyrsten Sinema’s Re-Election Chances Plummet After Challenger Raises $1M Fast

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Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who has announced a campaign for Senate in Arizona, said Tuesday his campaign raised $1 million in a day as he prepares to challenge Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who’s now an independent.

Sinema’s decision to dump her registration with the Democratic Party means she won’t face Gallego or any other candidate in a primary, assuming she runs for re-election. It’s difficult to not see a connection between her decision and that ramification of it, since the ambitions held by some Democrats in her home state to launch a primary challenge were no secret. Sinema has helped stall the Democratic agenda through her support for the filibuster rules in the Senate, even if that support means the end — for now — of initiatives she ostensibly supports, like new protections at the federal level for abortion. Even with millions upon millions of Americans facing the unique threats of a country newly without federal protections for access to the procedure, Sinema won’t budge.

In a statement from after a Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade leaked in the press, Sinema characterized what appeared to be the filibuster rules as protections “safeguarding against the erosion of women’s access to health care,” imagining, it seems, that the provisions demanding the agreement of more than a simple majority before moving forward on key legislative initiatives help guard against extremism. So, her idea is Democrats shouldn’t take the necessary action now because it might be undone later?

“In just ONE day, our campaign received $1 million from 27,000 donations,” Gallego said Tuesday night. “Thank you doesn’t even begin to cut it. We can win this. ¬°Adelante!” Polling has put Gallego, Sinema, and failed Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake against each other, although Lake hasn’t announced a campaign, instead lingering in a fantasyland where credible challenges to the stint as governor by the Democratic victor are possible. In some of that polling, Gallego and Lake are close — and Sinema is way behind, suggesting a race with three major candidates wouldn’t even leave Sinema a remotely credible path to victory.

In his announcement video from earlier this week, Gallego spoke of his personal background, including financial struggles when he was younger and time in the military, and outlined a vision of government service that is closely focused on everyday Arizonans, which contrasts with Sinema, who helped preserve tax benefits for the wealthy even through negotiations over the Inflation Reduction Act. Those benefits were what is known as the carried interest loophole, which allows individuals working in private equity to claim significantly lower tax rates on a form of income known as carried interest. The Inflation Reduction Act wouldn’t have even completely eliminated the possibility for similar benefits. A Sinema spokesperson tied the Senator’s opposition to supposed concern about facilitating investment in Arizona — the kind of vaguely right-wing approach that underpins providing favors to high-earners in hopes of a “trickle-down” effect.