Sinema Facing Senate Challenge By Progressive Democrat Gallego After Leaving Party


Progressive Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) is set to become the first notable Democrat to announce he’s running for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (I-Ariz.) seat in 2024, according to multiple reports, setting up what could be a rare and highly competitive three-candidate contest should Sinema decide to run again after leaving the Democratic Party.

Key Facts

Gallego is reportedly set to make a formal announcement Monday.

Sinema was elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 2018, but became an independent last month after she and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) frustrated fellow Democrats in the previous Congress by refusing to change filibuster rules, stonewalling several top pieces of legislation.

Sinema has painted herself as a centrist, but Gallego is an outspoken progressive who has voiced support for Medicare for All and raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Sinema has not said whether or not she’ll seek reelection in 2024.

Gallego’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes regarding his plans.

Key Background

Sinema remains a member of the Senate Democratic Caucus and consistently votes in line with President Joe Biden’s positions, but her opposition to eliminating the filibuster and refusal to support a sweeping spending bill left her alienated from most other Democrats during the first half of Biden’s term. She and Manchin effectively killed the Build Back Better spending package in late 2021 and early 2022, citing concerns about the multi-trillion-dollar social spending proposal making inflation even worse. Another major Democratic legislative priority died early last year when Sinema and Manchin voted against eliminating the 60-vote threshold to break the filibuster in order to pass a national voting rights bill. The Arizona Democratic Party censured her early last year over the decision. Sinema said her move to leave the Democratic Party was a “natural extension” of her votes in office, claiming she was joining “the growing number of Arizonans who reject party politics.”


Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.) said Thursday that he will not run for the Senate seat.

Surprising Fact

No prominent Republicans have announced they’re running for Arizona’s seat in 2024, but several hard-right figures like Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and 2022 Senate nominee Blake Masters are said to be considering runs.

Further Reading

Sinema Won’t Support Eliminating Filibuster—Effectively Killing Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill (Forbes)

Arizona Sen. Sinema Leaving Democratic Party, Becoming An Independent (Forbes)

Here’s Why Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Budget Plan Could Impact Every Single American (Forbes)

Kyrsten Sinema Censured By Arizona Democratic Party Over Her Refusal To Change Filibuster Rules (Forbes)