Arizona Democrat Rep Gallego plots Sinema primary challenge, spent weekend with her donors, report

Sinema's failure to flip positions on overturning the legislative filibuster has placed her in hot water with her Democratic colleagues

Updated: January 25, 2022 - 10:26am

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Rep. Ruben Gallego is apparently getting more serious about a primary challenge against fellow Democrat Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, scorned by party officials, liberals and others for not voting to advance their voting legislation and other key initiatives. 

According to a report in Punchbowl News, the congressman took a recent weekend trip to New York to meet with some of Sinema's donors about a potential 2024 Senate campaign.

The trip happened on the heels of Sinema's being censuring by the Arizona Democratic Party for refusal last week to support overhauling the Senate's filibuster rule, which prevented the passage Democratic signature voting legislation.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Independent who caucuses with Democrats, has openly call for a primary challenger to take her and West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, who also voted against the rules change. The vote was 48-52.

Amid the voting last week, two abortion rights advocacy groups – Emily's List and NARAL – each said they were pulling support for Sinema. 

Gallego, a Harvard graduate and former Marine, has said in recent days that he's been approached by members of the party about facing off against Sinema in her next election.

"To be honest, I have gotten a lot of encouragement from elected officials, from senators, from unions, from your traditional Democratic groups, big donors," he told CNN last week. "Everything you can imagine under the sun."

Gallego added that regardless of the targeting of Sinema by the party faithful over the last year, the incumbent senator is in trouble in Arizona because "nobody in the state has seen hide nor hair of her for the last three years."

"She hasn't had one town hall," he said. "Everything she does is scripted. She says she refuses to negotiate in public, but we want to know who is she negotiating for? Is it for Arizonans? Or is it for the pharmaceutical companies or whatever other interests that she is more likely to have meetings with than it is with the actual constituents?"

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