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Sinema Has Her Challenger; But Will She Even Run?

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 8: Ruben Gallego, Democratic candidate for the 7th Congressional district in Arizona, speaks to his volunteers as they prepare to canvass neighborhhods in Phoenix on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2014. (Ph... UNITED STATES - AUGUST 8: Ruben Gallego, Democratic candidate for the 7th Congressional district in Arizona, speaks to his volunteers as they prepare to canvass neighborhhods in Phoenix on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) MORE LESS
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January 23, 2023 11:35 a.m.

Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona announced his campaign for Senate this morning in a campaign video on Twitter. The possibility of his run has been in the cards for months and was made all but official in press reports last week. It’s not a surprise. But it’s a major development. In a way, perhaps, it was inevitable. The question for most of the last year was whether Gallego would give up his safe House seat to challenge Kyrsten Sinema who spent the last two years wrecking her standing with Arizona Democrats. That’s always an extremely high-risk gambit.

But now that’s all moot. Sinema is not running in the Democratic primary. She’s switched to being an independent. (Indeed, that was the whole point of doing so: to avoid this primary.) If she runs in 2024 she’ll run as an independent. For now Gallego is the only candidate in the race and my impression is that he’s a strong favorite to win the nomination. So the question really becomes about Sinema and the eventual Republican nominee. A lot will depend on what kind of candidate Republicans nominate. Will they nominate someone like popular outgoing Gov. Doug Ducey, who suggests he won’t run but hasn’t ruled it out, or one of the many feral Republicans in the Kari Lake and Blake Masters mold?

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