Krysten Sinema: 5 Things To Know About AZ Senator Leaving Dem. Party To Register As Independent

The senator announced that she was eschewing both parties and registering as Independent in an op-ed and interviews.

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Image Credit: Al Drago - Pool via CNP / MEGA

Senator Kyrsten Sinema announced that she was stepping away from the Democratic Party on Friday, December 9. After having been a member of the Democratic Party for 18 years, Sinema, 46, announced that she was leaving the party and registering as an Independent. Sinema explained her reasoning behind leaving in an op-ed for Arizona Central as well as a video shared on Twitter and her Instagram Story. “Everyday Americans are increasingly left behind by national parties’ rigid partisanship, which has hardened in recent years. Pressures in both parties pull leaders to the edges, allowing the loudest, most extreme voices to determine their respective parties’ priorities and expecting the rest of us to fall in line,” she wrote, in part.

Sinema wrote that she believes that loyalty to party lines has affected each politician’s constituents, and she pledged to work with centrist politicians on both sides of the aisle. “When politicians are more focused on denying the opposition party a victory than they are on improving Americans’ lives, the people who lose are everyday Americans,” she wrote.  “That’s why I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington.”

Sinema announced that she was leaving the Democratic party on Friday. ( Al Drago – Pool via CNP / MEGA)

With Sinema leaving the Democratic Party, it does narrow their majority in the Senate. The party did have a 51-49 lead over the Republicans. Vice President Kamala Harris will still be the tiebreaker for any split decisions. Find out everything you need to know about Sinema here!

1. Sinema began her national political career as a member of the House in 2013

Sinema’s career in the political sphere actually goes back further than her time in Washington. She worked on Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign in 2000 and made runs for local offices in the early aughts. She was elected to the Arizona Senate in 2010, before campaigning for the House of Representatives in 2012. She won her election and joined the House the following year and won re-election campaigns in 2014 and 2016.

2. She was elected to the Senate in 2018

When incumbent Republican Senator Jeff Flake announced that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election, Sinema announced that she would make her run for his Senate seat. She defeated Martha McSally, who later served in the House and briefly in the Senate, following an appointment by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey after Sen. John McCain’s death. Sinema’s term will end in 2025, and she’ll need to be re-elected in the 2024 election.

Sinema has been in national politics since 2013. (Rod Lamkey – CNP / MEGA)

3. Prior to leaving the Democrats, she was often described as a centrist

With Sinema leaving the party, she’ll still hold committee positions through the Democratic party, but it’s not clear if she’ll continue to caucus with Democrats, according to The New York Times. While Sinema has long been a Democrat, there have been occasions when she’s voted against her own party’s policies in the Senate. She opposed one of the party’s moves to raise taxes for high-earners and corporations in October 2021, per Politico

Because of her centrist approach, Sinema has garnered favor with many of her colleagues across the aisle. She even gave a speech at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville in September, and she was introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell himself, per Time“She is, today, what we have too few of in the Democratic Party: a genuine moderate and a dealmaker,” McConnell said of her.

4. She’s the first openly bisexual member of the Senate

Sinema’s elections to the House and Senate were historic because she was the first bisexual woman to be elected to each body. She’s also the second woman from the LGBTQ+ community to hold office in the House and Senate (the first was Tammy Baldwin). She first publicly came out when speaking out against a Republican official who insulted members of the LGBTQ community in 2005. “We’re simply people like everyone else who want and deserve respect,” she said, according to ElleWhen asked about it later, she responded, “Duh, I’m bisexual.”

Sinema will continue to hold committee positions through Democratic leadership. (Rod Lamkey – CNP / MEGA)

5. She’s an avid runner

Outside of politics, Sinema is quite athletic. She’s regularly showed off her love of running on her social media and celebrated competing in various marathons, including the 2022 Boston Marathon, which she posted some photos from on her Instagram. She’s also competed in Ironman triathlons, being the first member of Congress to complete one, per Runner’s World. She also has shown an interest in mountain climbing, sharing that she reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro on Christmas day in 2013 on Twitter.

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