Sen. Sinema Hasn’t Filed Paperwork To Run, Raising Doubts About Her Intent To Seek Reelection

February 24, 2024

By Corinne Murdock |

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) hasn’t filed a statement of interest to run yet, which means she hasn’t started gathering the tens of thousands of signatures she will need to appear on the ballot. 

The lack of action on Sinema’s part raises further doubt that she plans to seek reelection, since the deadline for signature collections is April 1. That’s about five weeks away. 

State law requires candidates to file their statement of interest prior to collecting signatures for ballot qualification. As an independent, Sinema would need a minimum of 42,300 signatures to qualify for the general election ballot. 

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-03) is seeking the Democratic nomination, while former gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb seek the Republican nomination. 

Sinema’s failure to file for reelection may relate to the House GOP’s recent rejection of her $118 billion foreign aid bill. Although Sinema and others described the legislation widely as a “border bill,” it allotted a mere 17 percent of funds for border security. $60 billion of the funds were allotted for relief for Ukraine, with the remainder set aside for Israel and other foreign countries.

The bill was a tripartisan effort between Sinema, Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, and Democratic Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy. 

In addition to border funding making up a minority of the $118 billion bill, GOP leadership contested the proposed border security provisions, such as enabling the president to override the bill’s automatic shutdown on migrant entry.

That automatic shutdown would occur should an average of 5,000 illegal crossings occur over a period of seven consecutive days. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could also implement the shutdown with an average of 4,000 illegal crossings over a period of seven consecutive days.

The shutdown would conclude after two weeks of border crossings falling below the 4,000-5,000 threshold. This authority would also be limited to 270 days in the first year, and even less days in the following two years. However, that closure could be reversed should the president declare a “national interest” in keeping the border open.

In the 2023 fiscal year, there were over 2.5 million illegal immigrant encounters. That’s an average of over 6,800 illegal immigrant encounters a day. 

Sinema insisted that her foreign aid bill would have solved the border crisis.

“My border bill would have prevented these closures and solved the crisis – but partisans decided not to secure the border,” said Sinema. 

Brian Anderson, founder of the political consultant firm Saguaro Group, said that it was the foreign aid bill’s failure that confirmed this to be the end of the line for Sinema.  

“The recent border bill was going to be Sinema’s last ‘hurrah.’ It was her way of proving to voters that she’s a deal-maker and the platform from which she’d launch her reelect,” said Anderson. “But everyone saw the border bill for what it was: All surface, no substance, just like Sinema — and luckily it died on the vine just like her campaign should.”

Anderson added that the Democrats were “out of their mind” for alienating Sinema in favor of Gallego: a choice he says is favorable for the GOP in the race, should they play their cards right. 

“She rubber-stamped virtually every agenda item on their docket while masquerading as a moderate with the best PR game on that side of the aisle, yet they decided to replace her with a four feet, two inches-high hothead with a history of unseemly behavior,” said Anderson. “If Republicans can’t manage to win a two-way race here, we have no one to blame but ourselves.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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