Dec 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Gallego campaign teases Senate bid after Sinema party switch

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.). Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) is “thinking of running” for U.S. Senate, according to a fundraising text his campaign sent out on Friday.

Why it matters: The text comes just hours after Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema announced she is leaving the Democratic Party to sit as an independent, which roiled Arizona Democrats already infuriated with the centrist senator.

What it says: “Ruben Gallego here, humbly asking you to donate to my campaign. Yes, I’m thinking of running for Senate,” says the text, a copy of which was obtained by Axios.

  • Gallego, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is a fourth-term Phoenix congressman and Marine veteran who has long been floated as a potential candidate to primary Sinema from the left.
  • Gallego put out his own statement which didn’t address his own plans, but said: “I have never backed down from fighting for Arizonans … Unfortunately, Senator Sinema is once again putting her own interests ahead of getting things done for Arizonans."

Zoom out: Arizona Democrats are sending strong signals they aren’t concerned about the risks of potentially splitting the Democratic vote if Sinema runs again.

  • “Senator Sinema may now be registered as an Independent, but she has shown she answers to corporations and billionaires, not Arizonans,” the state party said in a scathing statement after her announcement.
  • “Sinema just made our jobs easier by bowing out of a Democratic primary she knew she couldn't win,” said the Primary Sinema PAC. “Now, we'll beat her in the general election with a real Democrat."
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