United States Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democrat from Arizona, announced on Monday morning that he will be running for U.S. Senator in hopes of ousting incumbent independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in the 2024 general election.
Sinema, who was formerly a Democrat but changed her party affiliation in December, has not yet announced whether she will be seeking reelection.
In his campaign video announcement, Gallego, a former Marine, first stated his plans to run to a group of military veterans. “You’re the first group of people that are hearing this besides my family,” Gallego said. “I will be challenging Kyrsten Sinema for the United States Senate, and I need all of your support.”
Gallego took a number of swipes at Sinema in his first official senatorial campaign ad, noting that the incumbent senator has supported right-wing policies that have hurt the working class and has gotten cozy with corporate lobbyists during her time in Washington.
“Most families feel that they are one or two paychecks away from going under. That is not the way that we should be living in this country,” Gallego, who supports numerous progressive policies (including Medicare for All), said in his video. “The rich and the powerful, they don’t need more advocates. It’s the people that are still trying to decide between groceries and utilities that need a fighter for them.”
“If you’re more likely to be meeting with the powerful than the powerless, you’re doing this job incorrectly,” Gallego added.
Gallego was promoted by many Democrats as a viable candidate for senator in Arizona even before Sinema changed her party affiliation, as Sinema had shifted drastically to the right despite starting her political career as a champion of progressive causes.
“Don’t overthink Sen. Kyrsten Sinema switching from Democrat to Independent,” former congressional candidate Melanie D’Arrigo said after Sinema’s December announcement. “She’s not driven by ideology. She’s driven by which corporations and lobbyists are giving her the most money — which makes her an elected mercenary, not an elected representative of the people.”
“A reminder: America has no higher minimum wage, no extended child tax credits, and no voting rights protections because of Kyrsten Sinema,” MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan tweeted at the time, noting the Arizona senator’s support of the filibuster, which Republicans have used to block those policies.
Polling shows that Gallego would have a significant chance at winning the Senate race, even if a Republican runs against him and Sinema in the 2024 general election. According to a statewide survey from Public Policy Polling in late December, in a race between Sinema, Gallego and election-denying former GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, the incumbent would garner only 13 percent of the vote, while Gallego would get 40 percent and Lake would get 41 percent. (Gallego and Lake would technically be tied, given the poll’s margin of error.)
Given the poll’s findings, and Sinema’s political leanings being closer to Democratic than Republican, she may face pressure from the Democratic Party to bow out of the race completely — especially since that same poll gives Gallego a 1-point edge over Lake, should Sinema decide not to run again in 2024.
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