Home>National>Trump, Third-Party Loom Large in Upcoming AZ Senate Race

U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema speaking with attendees at the 2023 Update from Capitol Hill hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, April 6, 2023. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Trump, Third-Party Loom Large in Upcoming AZ Senate Race

Gallego polls strong in 3-way race

By Steve Kirwan, September 17, 2023 8:47 am

As the 2024 election approaches, many are focusing on the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Democrat-turned-Independent Kyrsten Sinema.

Sinema, the first Democrat to hold that seat in thirty years after John McCain’s death, became a lightning rod for Democrat ire after thwarting several key party votes. Despite a 93% party-line voting record, she was key in blocking several crucial Democrat votes, most notably joining West Virginia’s Joe Manchin to defeat a challenge to the Senate’s filibuster rule. That move effectively blocked several key party-line bills, most notably the deceptively named Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a move for which she was ultimately censured. This and several other key votes made her so unpopular in Democratic circles that she announced last December that she was registering as an Independent.

In her interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on 12/8/22, she stated, “I’ve registered as an Arizona independent. I know some people might be a little bit surprised by this, but actually, I think it makes a lot of sense.” She continued, “I’ve never fit neatly into any party box. I’ve never really tried. I don’t want to.” She added, “Removing myself from the partisan structure… not only is it true to who I am and how I operate, I also think it’ll provide a place of belonging for many folks across the state and the country, who also are tired of the partisanship.”

But that stance has landed the embattled pol in trouble with potential voters. A Noble Predictive Insights (NPI) poll of 1000 registered Arizona voters between July 13-17 showed Sinema losing to the Democrat front-runner Ruben Gallegos in a three-way race with either Kari Lake or Blake Masters. The poll showed Gallego at 34%, Sinema at 26%, and Lake at 25%, with 15% undecided. Sinema fares slightly better if Blake Masters, not Kari Lake, wins the Republican primary. Although Masters has stated his intent to run, Mark Lamb, the conservative sheriff of Arizona’s Pinal County (the state’s third-largest by population), is currently the only announced Republican primary candidate for the seat. The same poll shows Gallego beating Lamb in a heads-up match, 40%-36%.

According to a press release from NPI founder Mike Noble, “Congressman Gallego’s strength in head-to-head matchups (against Mark Lamb) shows his appeal across various demographic groups, making him a formidable candidate in this race.” The release continues, “Sen. Sinema’s entry could create a more complex electoral landscape, given her ability to draw support from independents.”

The polling is based on several bold assumptions – that Sinema and Lake are even running, as neither has announced. While Sinema will likely run under her new Independent affiliation, Lake is the presumptive Republican favorite of President Donald Trump. His expected endorsement would likely place her in the front-runner spot on the Republican side, but there is speculation that she may be Trump’s pick for VP. It remains unclear if Sinema would pull more from the Dems or the Republicans.

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Steve Kirwan
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