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Tipsheet

Kyrsten Sinema's Likely Primary Challenger Claims She 'Did Nothing' for Midterms

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

While the 2022 midterms are just about wrapping up, chatter about the 2024 election is already heating up. Beyond the presidential election, 2024 will be a noteworthy election for Senate Democrats as well, given how unfavorable the map looks for them. One such seat up is that of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who has incurred the wrath from her fellow Democrats for maintaining the status quo when it comes to the filibuster. An almost certain primary challenger of hers, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), is now calling her out as it applies to the midterms as well.

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While discussing the recent midterms on MSNBC's "American Voices" on Sunday, Rep. Gallego had no problem throwing his fellow Arizona Democrat under the bus. This is after host Alicia Menendez brought up a tweet from Sinema that Gallego quote retweeted.

Gallego pointed out "I don't think she'll learn," and then went on to claim how Democrats supposedly did as well as they did "because we fought together as a party," going on to also tout his own efforts in getting fellow party members reelected," including campaigning and donating. "We fought as a team in Arizona, and we won."

When it comes to Sinema's efforts, or lack thereof, Gallego offered that "Senator Sinema was nowhere to be seen, at all," claiming that "you did not see her at one public event for anybody." This is despite how the congressman pointed out "she could have been a very good surrogate," who emphasized "she did nothing."

The likely primary challenger had some thoughts as to why she wasn't campaigning more, which is that "she only cares about herself" and "she doesn't care about this doesn't help us take control of the Senate." Gallego also mentioned that Sinema predicted the Democrats could lose control of the Senate, while accepting an award from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in September.

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Gallego added even more fuel to the fire, increasing potential chatter that he will challenge Sinema when he doubled down on how he felt it necessary to respond to that tweet. "We just can't let this happen. She needs to either get on this team, get involved, or make some future decisions about what she wants to do with her career," Gallego said.

Menendez asked Gallego directly if he has made any plans about a primary challenge to Sinema, though he mentioned he will not make that decision until 2023. He did not appear to rule it out, but rather merely delayed that decision. 

POLITICO furthered such chatter back in April with a deep dive interview that Gallego would challenge Sinema. Just as he did on Sunday, Gallego accused Sinema of only thinking about herself and even then predicted she wouldn't help Democrats. Such a claim looks to have been a self-fulfilling prophecy then.

On Friday, an article from Alan Nunez with Al Día further raised speculation that Gallego might challenge Sinema. 

As of Monday afternoon, the gubernatorial race between Democrat Katie Hobbs and Republican Kari Lake is not yet called, though Hobbs maintains a slight lead. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) was the projected winner on Friday night, against Republican challenger Blake Masters.

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That night, Sinema tweeted a message of congratulations for Kelly from her campaign account.

Gallego won his race in Arizona's 3rd Congressional District by over 50 points, with an estimated 88 percent of the vote in. When it comes to his announcement on what's next, as Menendez pointed out, 2023 is only a couple of months away. 

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