AOC 'grateful' for Sinema leaving party, says 'people deserve more'

"It’s 'no healthcare, just vibes' for Senate. People deserve more."

Updated: December 9, 2022 - 4:49pm

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Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday celebrated the departure of Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema from the party, asserting it had presented the opportunity for another Democrat to seek her seat.

Sinema announced Friday morning that she would change her party affiliation to Independent amid longstanding tensions with the Democrats over major issues.

"I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington and formally registering as an Arizona Independent," Sinema posted.

In a quote-tweet resharing Sinema's original announcement, the New York Democrat critiqued her former colleague's statement as lacking in firm principles, saying "[n]ot once in this long soliloquy does Sinema offer a single concrete value or policy she believes in."

"She lays out no goals for Arizonans, no vision, no commitments," she continued, "It’s 'no healthcare, just vibes' for Senate. People deserve more."

She went on to acknowledge that Sinema's departure had cleared the way for the party to nominate another candidate. "Grateful this race & nomination has opened up," she concluded.

At least one potential challenger has seized on Sinema's departure. Democratic Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego, who was a likely contender to challenge Sinema in the party primary, issued a statement touting his own credentials, The Hill reported.

"Last month, the voters of Arizona made their voices heard loud and clear — they want leaders who put the people of Arizona first. We need Senators who will put Arizonans ahead of big drug companies and Wall Street bankers," Gallego said. "Whether in the Marine Corps or in Congress, I have never backed down from fighting for Arizonans. And at a time when our nation needs leadership most, Arizona deserves a voice that won’t back down in the face of struggle."

"Unfortunately Senator Sinema is once again putting her own interests ahead of getting things done for Arizonans," he lamented.

Sinema's term is set to expire in 2025.