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Kyrsten Sinema, first out bisexual U.S. senator, won't run for reelection

Kyrsten Sinema Arizona
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The Arizona senator has been much criticized by progressives. Now, she's decided to step aside this November.

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Kyrsten Sinema, the first out bisexual U.S. senator and a former Democrat, now independent, will not run for reelection this year.

Sinema, from Arizona, has been much criticized by liberals for her coziness with corporate interests and for her support for the Senate filibuster, which has held up progressive legislation.

In a video posted to X, formerly Twitter, said the positions she’s taken were about seeking civility and bridging partisan divides, but that’s proved unpopular.

There has been a “constant call to the extremes by both political parties,” said Sinema, who has continued to caucus with Senate Democrats after declaring herself an independent. “I promised I would do my best to fix it, to protect and defend our Constitution, to listen to others without judging to focus on what unites us. And to make Americans lives’ better.”

“Yet despite modernizing our infrastructure, ensuring clean water, delivering good jobs and safer communities, Americans still choose to retreat farther into partisan corners,” she went on. “These solutions are considered failures, either because they’re too much or not nearly enough. It’s all or nothing, the outcome less important than beating the other guy.

The only political victories that matter these days are symbolic, attacking your opponents in cable news or social media. Compromise is a dirty word.”

“I believe in my approach, but it’s not what America wants right now,” she concluded. “I love Arizona. I’m so proud of what we’ve delivered. Because I choose civility, understanding, listening, working together to get stuff done. I will leave the Senate at the end of this year.”

Sinema’s departure avoids a three-way race for the seat. Ruben Gallego, currently a member of the U.S. House, is running for the post as a Democrat, while the likely Republican nominee is Kari Lake, who ran unsuccessfully for Arizona governor in 2022.

Sinema was elected to the Senate in 2018 after three terms in the U.S. House. She was a member of the Arizona House from 2004 to 2010 and of the state's Senate from 2010 to 2012.

She "started out in politics affiliated with the Green Party before becoming a Democrat and later assembling a winning coalition in 2018 that included 'McCain Republicans' — conservative fans of the late Arizona senator’s maverick streak," The Washington Post notes. "But she alienated many Democrats back home by pushing back against a plan to eliminate the Senate filibuster to allow legislation to pass the chamber with a bare majority, as well as with a vote against attaching a minimum wage hike to a COVID relief bill. Many of her closest relationships in the Senate are with Republicans."

Her departure "is likely a relief" to Democratic leaders, the Post adds, as her presence in the race could have hurt Gallego's chances. The Democrats have a thin majority in the Senate — 51 seats — and Democratic senators are in tough reelection races in Ohio and Montana. West Virginia U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat who joined Sinema in supporting the filibuster, is not running for reelection, and his seat will probably go to a Republican.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.