Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's (I-AZ) departure from the Democratic Party to become an Independent has sparked even more chatter about a run in 2024, which is already a more difficult map for Democrats. Her likely challenger, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), weighed in during Monday morning's episode of MSNBC "Morning Joe" to share that he would discuss with his family over the holidays whether to run in 2024. He had even stronger words while on "All In with Chris Hayes" later that day.
In response to Hayes pointing out that Gallego has been "a little cagey," the congressman referenced his background as a Marine in how he is potentially. preparing for a run. "I've been putting together a great team, I think, that will help me get in the right direction. I am a Marine first, Congressman second, and Marines, we prepare. That's what I'm doing right now," he said.
When it comes to Sinema's decision, Gallego pointed out that he wasn't surprised, though he dismissed her actually being an Independent, while touting his own electability against her.
"The case is that she can't win a primary against me, and this is her only option," Gallego claimed. And more importantly, you know, she is really just abandoned the values of Arizona, and her being independent has nothing to do with the values of Arizona, it just means that she has time to run, and she can go talk to her friends in Wall Street, and in the pharma companies. But end of the day, she long ago abandoned Arizona, when it comes to representing our values."
.@RepRubenGallego on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: "She claims to be independent. That’s not the case. The case is that she can’t win a primary against me."— All In with Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) December 13, 2022
"She long ago abandoned Arizona when it comes to representing their values," says Gallego. pic.twitter.com/gEf2Fqh81x
As Hayes and Gallego discussed, Sinema and Gallego had actually served as House members together. While Gallego brushed off any disappointment about Sinema no longer speaking to him, it was everyday Arizonans he spoke of concern for, claiming she's "avoided them."
"And at the end of the day, she doesn't have to talk to me. I'm just an elected official. The fact that she ignores Arizona. She ignores our values, what we stand for, and I think that's why she's in the predicament she is right now. She has to run, because she can't win a primary," Gallego pointed out, again emphasizing his perception about Sinema's inability to win a Democratic primary against him.
There was no mention of how those complaining about Sinema not being available enough to constituents has led to her being accosted by groups in the restroom. In October of last year, for instance, members of Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA AZ) followed Sinema into the restroom to demand she support the ultimately doomed Build Back Better Act.
The group shared the videos over Twitter and justified their antics by claiming Sinema has "been completely inaccessible."
We wouldn't have to resort to confronting @senatorsinema around Phx if she took meetings with the communities that elected her. She's been completely inaccessible. We're sick of the political games, stop playing with our lives.— LUCHA Arizona (@LUCHA_AZ) October 3, 2021
“Build back better, back the bill!" pic.twitter.com/3OA5t6e6Fl
Gallego, in pointing out "I don't scare easily," also dismissed the notion that by splitting the vote as an Independent, Sinema could help Republicans win. He again brought Sinema's views to claim they don't represent Arizona voters, emphasizing her being "someone who stood up for big pharma."
This is hardly the first time Gallego has taken aim against Sinema. Shortly after last month's midterm elections, Gallego sent out a sarcastic tweet in response to Sinema calling for patience about the results. He also insisted while on MSNBC's "American Voices" that Sinema "did nothing" to help Democratic candidates.
Thanks for all your help this year. 🙃 https://t.co/MFi3ZIZnkS— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) November 9, 2022