Ruben Gallego to challenge Kyrsten Sinema for the Senate
The Arizona Representative is set to officially launch his run on Monday, Jan. 23.
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Following months of criticizing Senior U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the Democrat recently turned independent, Democratic Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego will now have the opportunity to challenge the Senator for her seat.
Newsweek first learned early Friday, Jan. 20, that Gallego, the former Marine Combat veteran, is set to announce his run for Sinema’s Senate seat on Monday, Jan. 23.
The current chair of BOLD PAC, the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, has long been critical of Sinema since she left the Democratic Party this past December after the party won the Senate in the midterm elections.
She has yet to announce if she will run for reelection in 2024.
He has also not been shy about his aspirations to run in the leadup to this new break. It is something that he has even hinted at in recent days, asking for donations to his Act Blue account.
“Kyrsten Sinema hasn’t held a town hall in Arizona for years. Instead, she flies to Switzerland for a town hall with the rich and powerful. Not a Joke! I haven't made a decision on running, but I'm one step closer today,” Gallego tweeted.
According to sources briefed by the campaign, Gallego will make the announcement with a video in English and Spanish, filmed in his home district that includes parts of Phoenix.
This will be followed by a press tour with several in-state events that the campaign will announce in the near future. The campaign has already hired consultants, and some initial staff.
Gallego had previously told CBS News' Robert Costa this last December that a few Democratic senators behind closed doors, had been urging him to challenge Sinema.
"There have been some senators that have encouraged me to run," he said. "There are some senators, some of Sen. Sinema's colleagues, that are encouraging me to run."
He did not name the senators but said he believes they would "absolutely" support his challenge of her.
Gallego certainly sees the Latino growth occurring in the country at the moment as a boost, with a trajectory suggesting that they are one of, if not the key voting demographic in future elections, with a presidential one in just a couple years.
He said in the interview with Costa that he plans to go after the support of young voters in the battleground state. Gallego also added that he thought his bid could actually be in service of President Joe Biden's own reelection plans in Arizona.
"I will say this: If I was running for president in Arizona in 2024, I would want to be with someone that would be proud to be going on stage with him and going to every part of Arizona," Gallego said. "More importantly, getting out the crucial Latino vote. Time will tell what the calculations are over there. I don't need to pressure them. They're certainly not pressuring me. But I know what a strong candidate I am and can be."
Gallego’s run does not come however, without any risks.
In a serious statewide race between a Democrat, Republican, and Independent, one jarring reality is that Gallego and Sinema could split Democratic-leaning voters and as a result, give a crucial Senate seat to the GOP.
And as the 2022 election results proved, Arizona residents are in favor of moderate candidates. Gallego's forthright and loud takes on issues such as immigration and healthcare will not be favorably viewed compared to Sinema's more centrist outlook.
Gallego however, has one less competitor to worry about as former two-term serving Phoenix Mayor and current Arizona Congressman for the 9th District, Greg Stanton, who was seen as the potential candidate to face off against Sinema, withdrew his name from a potential candidacy Thursday afternoon.
“After a great deal of consideration and talking through the ins and outs of a Senate race with my family, I’ve made the decision that now is not the right time for me to run,” Stanton tweeted.
“I’ll never stop looking for opportunities to fight for Arizona,” he added.