'Excellent': Progressives praise Ruben Gallego's Senate primary challenge to Kyrsten Sinema

'Excellent': Progressives praise Ruben Gallego's Senate primary challenge to Kyrsten Sinema
Image via Creative Commons.

U.S. Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) won immediate praise Monday morning after officially announcing he is challenging Democrat-turned-independent U.S. Senator Krysten Sinema for her senate seat.

Calling Gallego “a liberal firebrand and prominent Latino lawmaker,” The Associated Press reports he “announced Monday he’ll challenge independent U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2024, becoming the first candidate to jump into the race and setting up a potential three-way contest.”

“Gallego said he’d fight for normal people struggling to make ends meet and losing faith in politicians. He said he and Sinema both come from ‘modest to poor means’ but have taken different paths in Congress.”

“I’m better for this job than Kyrsten Sinema because I haven’t forgotten where I came from,” Gallego told the AP. “I think she clearly has forgotten where she came from. Instead of meeting with the people that need help, she meets with the people that are already powerful.”

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Gallego’s progressive résumé is bolstered by his unabashed record of going on the attack against enemies of democracy, opponents of Democrats, and support for popular causes as he demonstrates regularly in his colorful social media postings. For example, his daring response just over a year ago to a report a Russian lawmaker called for his abduction.

Or his strongly-worded response to extremist calls to overturn the 2020 election on January 6, 2021.

Or his frustration at the “thoughts and prayers” crowd. Or his anger at Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Sinema, one of the least-popular U.S. Senators in the country, last month switched her party registration to independent as some said she would be unable to withstand a primary challenge. Gallego has long been rumored and floated as a replacement for the unpopular freshman Senator from Arizona.

Earlier this month a Morning Consult poll found Sinema’s unpopularity actually grew after she left the Democratic Party, hitting 50% disapproval. But she picked up points among Republicans and independents, pushing her approval rating up two points to 38%. Among Democrats she dropped from 42% approval to 30% approval.

In December, Rep. Gallego told MSNBC that Sinema “claims to be independent. That’s not the case. The case is that she can’t win a primary against me.”

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“She long ago abandoned Arizona when it comes to representing their values,” he added.

It was a statement some seemed to strongly believe even before his Monday morning announcement, as some pointed to her trip to Davos, accusing her of “hobnobbing” with elites, wearing a fur vest, and caught high-fiving Sen. Joe Manchin for protecting the filibuster.

NBC News reports Sen. Sinema did not comment on Gallego’s campaign challenge, but the Arizona Democrat did have strong words for his prospective opponent.

“The problem isn’t that Senator Sinema abandoned the Democratic Party — it’s that she’s abandoned Arizona. She’s repeatedly broken her promises and fought for the interests of big pharma and Wall Street at our expense. I’m running for the U.S. Senate because the rich and the powerful don’t need any more advocates in Washington — but families who can’t afford groceries do,” Gallego said in a statement.

Pointing to Gallego’s campaign launch video (below), writer, activist, and former Human Rights Campaign press secretary Charlotte Clymer noted, “It took Ruben Gallego less than three and a half minutes to make Kyrsten Sinema look unreasonable, unserious, and out-of-touch, and all he did was tell his own story.”

Even before becoming an independent, Sinema was “the least popular Democratic senator among Democratic voters in the fourth quarter of 2022, and especially vulnerable to the kind of primary challenge that was apparently in the works by Rep. Ruben Gallego,” Morning Consult reported.

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Sinema has one of the highest disapproval ratings (48%), beaten in that category only by Senators Mitch McConnell (64% disapproval), Joe Manchin and Ron Johnson (53% disapproval), and Susan Collins (52% disapproval).

Former Obama senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer called Gallego’s new campaign video “excellent,” while former Obama official Tim Fullerton called the ad “tremendous.” He says, “Ruben Gallego is going to be a great Senator for Arizona and the country.”

Watch Gallego’s campaign launch video below or at this link.

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