The Senate seat currently held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) appears to be a positive prospect for Democrats in a challenging electoral cycle, as indicated by a couple of noteworthy developments.
Firstly, according to NBC reporting, Sinema has not yet filed her statement of intent with the Arizona secretary of state to initiate the collection of signatures. While there is still time for her to do so—she has until April 4 to submit 42,303 signatures—it raises eyebrows that she has not taken this step if she plans to run again.
If Sinema decides not to run, this would be a significant relief for Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), eliminating the concern of her potentially drawing votes away from Democrats or independents he needs for victory. Gallego has focused much of his campaign on addressing Sinema as his quasi-primary challenger, and her absence would allow him to concentrate on his Republican opponent.
The focus then shifts to Kari Lake, who reportedly compelled the resignation of the Arizona GOP chair by releasing a recording of a conversation between them. In the recording, various incentives, such as a corporate job and money, were offered to dissuade Lake from running for Senate in the current year.
Lake’s release of the recording, along with an alleged threat to reveal more recordings if the chair didn’t resign (denied by Lake’s camp), led to his departure.
Jeff DeWit, the former chair, emphasized that the motivation behind urging Lake to sit out the race stemmed from concerns about her limited appeal with moderates and independents, potentially serving as a liability for the entire ticket. He argued that Mark Lamb, a sheriff also running for the Republican nomination, has broader appeal and a positive approach.
Lake’s camp labeled these efforts as RINO (Republican In Name Only) treachery, but DeWit countered that those advocating for Lake to abstain from the race were actually pro-Trump and believed her candidacy could negatively impact his chances.
Lake, known for her hard-right, MAGA-aligned stance, previously ran for Arizona governor in 2022 on a platform associated with the Big Lie. She was defeated by the current Governor, Katie Hobbs (D), who managed to flip the governor’s mansion.
Since then, Lake has been involved in legal battles to perpetuate her Big Lie narrative and has remained ardently aligned with Donald Trump, exhibiting a political stance that may be considered an unusual fit for a general electorate in an increasingly blue state.
While these dynamics may evolve before election day, the absence of Sinema coupled with a victory for Lake in the Republican primary could potentially make Arizona more comfortable for Democrats. This would be particularly crucial as Democrats face the challenge of defending seats in states perceived as politically hostile, such as Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia.