Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is grappling with a delayed decision on whether to pursue re-election as an independent, coupled with a notable decline in fundraising. In the last quarter of 2023, she managed to raise only $600,000.
If Sinema opts for re-election as an independent, she will be thrust into a particularly competitive three-way race against Representative Ruben Gallego, a Democrat, and Kari Lake, a Republican. This decision-making process is proving challenging for Sinema, who departed from the Democratic Party just over a year ago.
Despite having considered the possibility of a second term, recent campaign finance reports reveal a significant deviation from the schedule outlined by Sinema and her team last spring.
In April, they established a timeline that included a deadline of September 30 for an initial round of public opinion polling and research on potential challengers, such as Representative Ruben Gallego and Republican politician Kari Lake, who narrowly lost the governor’s race in 2022. By the end of December, Sinema was expected to have a fully assembled campaign staff.
However, there is no indication that she conducted substantial polling or research or made staff hires during the latter half of the past year. According to new filings with the Federal Election Commission, Sinema spent $6.9 million in the last year, allocating a significant portion to digital advertising, security, and consulting.
On the fundraising front, concerns are mounting as Sinema garnered just under $600,000 in the final quarter of 2023. This marks the fourth consecutive quarter in which her fundraising has declined compared to the previous three-month period.
“There are no signs — literally or figuratively — that Kyrsten is going to run,” observed Barrett Marson, a Republican strategist based in Arizona.