Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Kirsten Cinema faces backlash from Arizona Democrats for filibuster stance

Senator Kirsten Sinema’s announcement Thursday that she will not consider changes to Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation prompted an immediate backlash from fellow Democrats in Arizona.

Condemnation of Cinema’s pro-filibuster stance came from all levels of the Democratic Party in her home state, including the state party, the state legislature, the Arizona congressman, and grassroots activists who helped win her seat in 2018.

“We are disappointed, to say the least, that Senator Cinema chose to defend an outdated rule regarding her constituents,” the Arizona Democratic Party said. said Thursday.

V statement, Rep. Reginald Balding (D-Phoenix), State House Democratic Caucus leader, outlined the ongoing efforts by Republicans in Arizona to restrict voting in the state based on lies about election fraud by ex-president Donald Trump before putting in Sinema .

Bold attacked Sinema for defending “an outdated filibuster from the Jim Crow era”. He urged her to “get out of your DC bubble and take a closer look at your state and your country” to see that the right to vote is “systematically being phased out right now—here and in state legislatures across the country.”

“Given the choice to either cement the legacy of John Lewis or stomp on him, I will never understand Senator Cinema’s speech today,” Balding added.

Immediately after Sinema reiterated its opposition to the Senate filibuster rule change, U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona), Sinema’s possible archrival, entered the House of Representatives to talk about voting rights and called the senator by name.

Senator Kirsten Sinema (D-Arizona) said she would not change the Senate Pirate Rules to pass the voting rights bill in her Senate speech on Thursday.

MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

“Today, the House of Representatives showed where it is,” Gallego said, referring to the House passing the voting rights bill earlier Thursday, before Cinema announced it would vote to repeal it in the Senate. “We will not shy away from defending our democracy and the voting rights of all Americans. It is high time for the US Senate and Senema Sinema to do the same.”

Gallego told CNN on Friday he was “very disappointed” with Sinema for “blocking voting rights legislation.”

“I never say no to the future,” Gallego said of Sinema’s possible major challenge in 2024.

In one of the first attempts to bring Sinema into its 2024 re-election campaign, dubbed the Primary Sinema Project, it was announced that it had raised $28,000 since Sinema’s performance on Thursday, more than 10% of the total raised in the first 100 days, and increased the number of followers on Twitter from 6,000 people. users to over 37,000 as of Friday afternoon.

Sinema may also lose approval and support from the groups, activists and party leaders that helped it defeat Republican Senator Martha McSally by 55,000 votes in 2018.

“My reaction is all adjectives to describe disappointment,” Signa Oliver, super volunteer for the Sinema campaign, which sits on the steering committee of two local Arizona grassroots groups, Desert Progress Indivisible and Indivisible West Phoenix.

“It’s like an abusive relationship where you have hope but the person keeps disappointing you,” Oliver added.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona), a potential archrival of Senator Kirsten Sinema (D-Arizona) in 2024, criticized the senator for her filibustering stance.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona), a potential archrival of Senator Kirsten Sinema (D-Arizona) in 2024, criticized the senator for her filibustering stance.

Caroline Breman via Getty Images

Supporting the Sinema campaign in 2018, local Indivisible groups like the one Oliver helps run hosted over 2,500 events, knocked on over 5,000 doors, made over 235,000 phone calls and sent over 500,000 text messages. This is just a small part of the work that local activists have done to help Sinema, as many members of Indivisible have volunteered to be directly involved in her campaign to avoid duplication of effort.

Sinema may also lose support from the national groups that helped elect her in 2018. The Conservation Voters League and End Citizens United PAC supported Sinema in 2018, with the LCV spending over $800,000 to get her elected. They joined three other groups in sending a letter to senators on Thursday announcing they would withhold campaign approval from candidates who do not support changing the Senate’s rules on obstructionism.

For now, Arizona Democrats feel abandoned by their senior senator.

“We’ve been left here on the front lines because we have a senator who doesn’t care about her staff,” Balding told HuffPost.

But they hope that she will somehow change her tune.

“We have two more years to work with her,” Oliver said. “We are open and ready to work with her, but she will have to leave this position on a filibuster.”

And if Sinema is taking a stance that denies voting rights on the way to the pass it has held since President Joe Biden became president and the Democrats gained control of the Senate, Oliver says, “our only alternative is to make it primary.”

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