Democratic congressman takes step toward challenging Krysten Sinema for Senate seat

Democratic congressman takes step toward challenging Krysten Sinema for Senate seat
Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona speaking with attendees at the 2017 National Council of La Raza Annual Conference at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona, Gage Skidmore

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, Democrat of Arizona, has long been rumored to be thinking of challenging U.S. Senator Krysten Sinema, who last week stunned Democrats by changing her affiliation to independent.

As some have noted, Sinema’s unpopularity appears to have forced her hand with her party switch, knowing she could not survive a head-on primary challenge from a more popular Democrat. Conventional wisdom currently says in a battle between the popular Democratic lawmaker, Gallego, and the unpopular newly-independent Sinema, a Republican could win the seat if Democratic voters are split between two candidates.

Nevertheless, Gallego a reportedly taken another step toward challenging the incumbent in the 2024 election.

“Gallego has signed up the Democratic polling firm GBAO Strategies for a ‘leadership role’ for a potential Senate bid,” Politico reports. “GBAO Strategies is fresh off a slate of victories in the general election, after working for Democratic Pennsylvania Sen.-elect John Fetterman and Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock.”

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The Democratic Congressman got the question Monday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I’m going to listen to my family over the holidays — I have a big Latino family that’s going to come in over Christmas, it’s going to be a very, very crowded house — but then after that, we’ll be making a decision. And we’ll be making a decision based on what’s best for Arizona and based on what I hear from the actual constituents of Arizona,” he said.

He also told MSNBC, “Kyrsten has decided to move to an Independent— that’s not the end of the world. What really is the end of the world is she really doesn’t match Arizona values anymore. And I’m going to go back and listen to the constituents of Arizona.”

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Also on MSNBC Monday Gallego slammed House Republicans

“The crazy train has pulled in, the circus has put up the tent, and now the clowns are running around inside,” he said of his GOP colleagues.

And last week he slammed Sen. Sinema for leaving the Democratic Party.

“Last month, the voters of Arizona made their voices heard loud and clear – they want leaders who put the people of Arizona first,” he said in a statement. “We need Senators who will put Arizonans ahead of big drug companies and Wall Street bankers. 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.”

Gallego is a former Marine who served in the Iraq War.

First elected in 2010, Gallego has beat a Republican challenger every election, retaining his seat last month with 77% of the vote.

One Friday The New Republic observed, “At this point, it seems not a matter of if, but when Ruben Gallego announces his run for Kyrsten Sinema’s seat.”

Meanwhile, Republican turned Democratic strategist Kurt Bardella says he doesn’t even think Sinema will run for re-election, which could make Gallego’s attempt to win the seat even easier.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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