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Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight 

Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight 

Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaBiden touts infrastructure spending as other priorities stall The Hill’s 12:30 Report: More of Biden’s agenda teeters on collapse Joe Biden’s disastrous 48 hours MORE (D-Ariz.) is pouring fuel onto talk of a 2024 Democratic primary challenge by digging into her opposition to changing the filibuster.  

Sinema in a Friday speech on the Senate floor roughly an hour before President Bidenbidenjoe 081315getty 0 | Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight  | The Paradise NewsJoe BidenHouse Democratic campaign arm outraises GOP counterpart in final quarter of 2021 Putin’s ‘Brezhnev Doctrine’ involving Ukraine could backfire Rising inflation adds pain to student loan debt MORE met with Senate Democrats ruled out a filibuster carve-out for voting rights legislation, enraging voices on the left.  

Her position wasn’t new, but the timing of the speech angered national progressives, civil rights groups and activists back in her home state.  

“I don’t know what she gains from doing what she did. …Either she delivers on the policies that we’re asking for or she’s out,” said Luis Avila, a progressive organizer aligned with the Primary Sinema Project, which is fundraising in support of a 2024 challenge. 

Sinema also found herself at odds with Arizona Democratic Party chair Raquel Teran who said that, “We are disappointed to say the least that she has chosen to protect an antiquated rule over her constituents.” 

Though Sinema isn’t on the ballot again until 2024, frustration with her has already spawned multiple groups fundraising for her ousting. 

The Primary Sinema Project said it had its best fundraising day on Thursday since launching on Sept. 30, and its second-best on Friday, the day after her speech. It is focused on helping finance groups in Arizona to lay the groundwork for unseating Sinema in 2024.  

The group released a memo in the wake of Sinema’s speech accusing her of defying the will of the people of Arizona, shifting power to Mitch McConnellmcconnellmitch 080117gn4 lead | Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight  | The Paradise NewsAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellNegotiators report progress toward 2022 spending deal Sinema scuttles hopes for filibuster reform Graham says McConnell must make amends with Trump to be Republican leader MORE, and significantly weakening Democrats’ chances of retaining their majorities in the House and Senate.” 

Another group, the Primary Sinema Pledge, is collecting pledges through Crowdpac for donations it plans to give to a 2024 primary challenger if Sinema votes against changing the filibuster.

With the election more than two years away, Sinema doesn’t have a formal primary challenger yet. But some Democrats are urging Rep. Ruben Gallegogallego | Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight  | The Paradise NewsRuben GallegoThe Hill’s Morning Report: Biden takes it on the chin Gallego says it’s ‘past time’ Sinema, Senate protect voting rights Gallego on Jan. 6 rioters: ‘F— them’ MORE (D-Ariz.), a Marine veteran, to do so.

Gallego made headlines when he name-checked Sinema in a speech on the House floor shortly after she spoke on the opposite side of the Capitol. 

“Today the House showed where it stands. We won’t shrink from protecting our democracy and the voting rights of all Americans. It’s past time for the U.S. Senate and Sen. Sinema to do the same,” Gallego said.

He didn’t stop there. 

Gallego, in an interview with Politico, called Sinema’s stance “disappointing.” And in an interview with CNN, he launched a broadside against his fellow Arizona Democrat while not ruling out a primary challenge against her.  

“A lot of Arizonans … are very unhappy with the fact that she is blocking voting rights legislation, so I’ll keep my ears open, I’ll continue to have my public meetings, something that she should try to do once and a while and then I’ll make a determination after 2022,” he said.  

Gallego added that he believed Sinema’s view on the filibuster was “naive” and “very problematic for a lot of Arizonans of all political persuasions.” He also accused Sinema of having “looser principles” on the filibuster “when it’s convenient to Wall Street.”  

Gallego was referencing a one-time exemption to the filibuster that the Senate greenlit last month to raise the debt ceiling. But legislation setting up the procedural loophole had to overcome a filibuster, meaning it got GOP votes,  and was part of a deal worked out between Schumer and McConnell.  

This week is hardly the first time Sinema has found herself at the center of a progressive firestorm. 

Stories about her irking the left have cropped up like clockwork. Progressives grumbled, even as they largely supported her, in 2018, and she got on-the-record warnings from other Arizona Democrats in 2019 about underestimating the state’s changing demographics. 

But those tensions have since boiled over after Democrats took back control of the Senate and the White House. The no-room-for-error dynamic of a 50-50 Senate puts Sinema under a microscope on any of the party’s big priorities including last year’s coronavirus relief bill, any hope for a revived Build Back Better Act and, more recently, a push by President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumerschumercharles 071117gn2 lead | Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight  | The Paradise NewsChuck SchumerJoe Biden’s disastrous 48 hours Biden’s desperate pitch to keep minority voters Business executives urge Senate to bypass filibuster to pass voting rights MORE (D-N.Y.) to change the 60-vote legislative filibuster in order to pass election-related legislation. 

Progressives, and Sinema’s own Senate colleagues, have led a months-long pressure campaign to sway her. Schumer recently urged activists to call Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchinmanchin 0 | Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight  | The Paradise NewsJoe ManchinBiden touts infrastructure spending as other priorities stall The Hill’s 12:30 Report: More of Biden’s agenda teeters on collapse The Hill’s Morning Report: Biden takes it on the chin MORE (D-W.Va.) to try to pressure them; Sinema has met with a group of Democrats leading the reform talks and civil rights activists are gathering in Phoenix over the weekend. 

Sinema supports the two proposals that have been included in the bill that the Senate will vote on next week: The Freedom to Vote Act, which would overhaul federal elections and campaign finance laws, and the John Lewislewisjohn 110617gn lead | Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight  | The Paradise NewsJohn LewisJoe Biden’s disastrous 48 hours Senate to take up voting rights bill Tuesday, missing Schumer deadline Democrats’ filibuster gambit unravels MORE Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would strengthen the 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

She’s also disavowed new state-level voting restrictions, including in Arizona, enacted in the wake of the 2020 election, which former President Trumptrumpdonald 070117getty | Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight  | The Paradise NewsDonald TrumpThe fates of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump Resolution to honor Capitol workers on Jan. 6 would have been voted down by Hawley, senator says Trump to rally supporters in Texas MORE and his allies falsely claimed was stolen. 

But Sinema, echoing stances she’s outlined over the past year in statement and op-eds, made clear during her floor speech that despite her support for the bills she wouldn’t vote to change the 60-vote filibuster. Republicans have used the filibuster to block three election-related bills and without changes to the rules, which Democrats could enact with total unity from their 50 members, voting rights legislation has hit a dead end in the Senate. 

“These bills help treat the symptoms of the disease – but they do not fully address the disease itself. And while I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country,” Sinema said. 

Sinema also used her speech to call for bipartisanship, saying that the “mandate” was to “work together and get stuff done for America.” 

“We must address the disease itself—the disease of division—to protect our democracy. It cannot be achieved by one party alone,” she said. 

But Sinema’s call for bipartisanship sparked criticism from Democrats, who noted that they tried to get GOP votes on the voting bills, but 10 Republican senators didn’t bite. 

Avila said that Sinema presenting her position on the filibuster as tied to bipartisanship “is so naive.” 

“We know that the Republicans are not interested in bipartisanship,” he said. “We progressives believe that Democrats are not even meeting us in the middle.” 



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