Kyrsten Sinema Switches From Democrat To Independent

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has announced she has changed her party affiliation to Independent.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ)

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona announced today she changing her party affiliation and will participate in the Senate as an Independent.

Sinema is the only out bisexual member of the Senate. And to give proper credit, she was a big part of the push to get the Respect for Marriage Act passed in the Senate.

From Politico:

In a 45-minute interview, the first-term senator told POLITICO that she will not caucus with Republicans and suggested that she intends to vote the same way she has for four years in the Senate. “Nothing will change about my values or my behavior,” she said.

Provided that Sinema sticks to that vow, Democrats will still have a workable Senate majority in the next Congress, though it will not exactly be the neat and tidy 51 seats they assumed. They’re expected to also have the votes to control Senate committees.

While the two other Independents in the Senate – Sens. Angus King of Maine and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – formally caucus with Democrats, Sinema declined to explicitly say that she would do the same.

Sinema hasn’t announced if she plans to run for reelection in 2024. But by becoming an independent, she avoids a costly, time consuming primary against possible challenger Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).

That said, the general election could turn chaotic for her running against a Democrat and a Republican – especially without a political party to help fund her campaign.

In an op-ed she penned for the Arizona Republic, she explained the reasons for her change of party affiliation.

In catering to the fringes, neither party has demonstrated much tolerance for diversity of thought. Bipartisan compromise is seen as a rarely acceptable last resort, rather than the best way to achieve lasting progress. Payback against the opposition party has replaced thoughtful legislating.

Americans are told that we have only two choices – Democrat or Republican – and that we must subscribe wholesale to policy views the parties hold, views that have been pulled further and further toward the extremes.

It’s no wonder a growing number of Americans are registering as independents. In Arizona, that number often outpaces those registered with either national party. 

That’s why I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington. I registered as an Arizona independent.

Read her full statement here.