Potential primary challenger Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) is going hard after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for what he says was her absence on the campaign trail, saying she could have helped Arizona’s Democratic candidates who were on the ticket last week but didn’t.
“We fought as a team in Arizona and we won,” said Gallego when asked about his public criticisms of Sinema on MSNBC. “Senator Sinema was nowhere to be found. At all. You did not see her at one public event for anybody. … She did nothing, because she only cares about herself.”
Gallego initially launched into Sinema on Twitter last week, responding to a tweet she sent the day after the midterm elections urging voters to be patient as votes are counted.
“Thanks for all your help this year,” Gallego wrote sarcastically.
This is not the first (and likely not the last) time Gallego has publicly criticized Sinema — especially on her centrist stance on a handful of issues Democrats have been pushing for.
Sinema, alongside Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), teamed up with Republicans on key bills last year, slowing and sometimes even stopping President Biden’s legislative agenda from crossing the finish line.
He has been especially critical of Sinema’s refusal to end the Senate’s legislative filibuster.
In January, Gallego tweeted that Sinema and Manchin “care more about arcane Senate rules than protecting your vote.” And in June, he said that Sinema was empowering Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) by “not neutering the filibuster.”
Earlier this year, Jacques Petit, Gallego’s communications director, said Gallego hasn’t made any decisions on challenging Sinema in 2024 but his campaign has teased the possibility.
“Many people are asking Ruben if he will run against Senator Kyrsten Sinema,” a June Facebook post said. “We know many of you hope he does and he appreciates that fact. That’s one of the reasons he is asking you to contribute to his campaign today. Because if he is going to run against her, he’ll need to win his re-election campaign this November and build a strong grassroots movement.”