Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema may still be caucusing with the Democrats but Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he may back a progressive against her in the 2024 election, Mediaite reports.
Sinema on Friday announced that she would be switching her party registration from Democrat to independent, but would still caucus with the party and sit on committees, like fellow independents Sanders and Maine Sen. Angus King.
“Nothing will change about my values or my behavior,” Sinema told Politico last week.
Sinema said she “never really fit into a box of any political party.”
The move came as Sinema faced the high likelihood of a progressive primary challenge after derailing the Democrats’ agenda during President Joe Biden’s first two years.
Poll numbers showed that she is deeply unpopular among Democrats, as well as Republicans and independents.
Sanders may back challenge:
Sanders told CNN that he may back a challenger to Sinema.
“I support progressive candidates all over this country,” Sanders said. “I don’t know what’s going to be happening in Arizona. We will see who they nominate. But certainly, that’s something I will take a hard look at.”
CNN anchor Dana Bash asked the senator if Sinema has “the guts to take on powerful special interests.”
“No, she doesn’t,” Sanders replied. “She is a corporate Democrat who has, in fact, along with Senator [Joe] Manchin, sabotaged enormously important legislation.”
Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego, who has been considering a primary challenge to Sinema, teased his Senate bid after Sinema announced her party switch.
“Ruben Gallego here, humbly asking you to donate to my campaign. Yes, I’m thinking of running for Senate,” he said in a fundraising text to supporters.
“I have never backed down from fighting for Arizonans … Unfortunately, Senator Sinema is once again putting her own interests ahead of getting things done for Arizonans,” Gallego said in a statement.