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IN FOCUS - Mar 8, 2024


U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s announcement this week that she will not seek re-election sets up a one-on-one matchup between progressive Congressman Ruben Gallego and MAGA icon Kari Lake. Which candidate wins will help determine control of the Senate when the 119th Congress convenes on Jan. 3, 2025.

Sen. Sinema’s announcement surprised few, as she had not even begun collecting the more than 42,000 signatures required to qualify for the ballot as an Independent. April 1 is the deadline for signature petitions.

Her departure marks the conclusion of a unique political odyssey that saw Sen. Sinema evolve from Green Party activist to progressive to centrist Democrat to, finally, Independent. Arizona has been known for Senators and Congressmembers who occasionally buck their party. Think Mo Udall (D), Barry Goldwater (R) and John McCain (R).

Times have changed, though. Mavericks are out; partisan brawlers are in. These days, challenging political orthodoxy gets you drummed out of the party (or followed into a public restroom).

It may be a long time until Arizona sees another like Sen. Sinema.


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