(NewsGlobal.com)- It’s been less than a week since Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema announced she was leaving the Democratic Party to become independent, and already, some potential replacements are saying they intend to run for her seat.
Sinema has drawn the ire of many liberals over the past two years for not falling in line behind the party and supporting ultra-progressive spending packages so Democrats could force them down the country’s throats using budget reconciliation. Now, she’s leaving the party entirely.
Due to Arizona’s state laws, Sinema won’t be able to run as a candidate of either political party in 2024 since she’s an independent now. That means if she wants to win re-election, she’ll have to face off against both a Democrat and Republican in the general election.
One Arizona Democrat who said already that he plans to run for the seat in two years is Democratic Representative Ruben Gallego. Long seen as a leading choice to replace Sinema if she ever decided not to run for re-election, Gallego found out that she was departing the party while he was leading a delegation of bipartisan lawmakers in Ukraine.
He said he was “not surprised” by Sinema’s decision when he found out. Both privately and publicly, he’s already indicated that he’s preparing to run for the seat.
Gallego has already enlisted GBAO Strategies, a Democratic polling firm that aided in the successful bids of Senators-elect Raphael Warnock in Georgia and John Fetterman in Pennsylvania. They’ll be taking on a “leadership role” for a potential run for the Senate, Politico reported recently.
As one source who is close to Gallego said recently:
“We all know he’s going to run. I would be shocked if he didn’t make a decision quickly in January.”
Other sources told Newsweek that Gallego is looking at bringing on other consultants that have experience on Senate campaigns to help him with his own.
He even sounded as though he was planning to run for her Senate seat when he released a statement following Sinema’s announcement. He said that Sinema was putting her personal interests, as well as those of Wall Street bankers and large drug companies, ahead of the interests of Arizona residents.
He countered that by saying he has never done that, always fighting for the residents of Arizona in his time in Congress and with the Marine Corps. Gallego is a combat war veteran in Iraq.
If Gallego decided to run for Sinema’s Senate seat in 2024, he would need to get through the Democratic primary first, but it wouldn’t be against Sinema. That would seemingly give him an edge over any other potential candidate, since he’s already a member of Congress.
Then, if he did get through the primary, he’d face off directly against a Republican nominee. Sinema, meanwhile, would get to choose three letters that she felt represented her best. That might be “IND,” which would stand for independent.
For Democrats, this situation might be a nightmare, while Republicans may be celebrating Sinema’s decision already.