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Independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema will not seek reelection

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 5 in Washington, D.C.
Kevin Dietsch
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U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 5 in Washington, D.C.

Independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema announced Tuesday that she will not seek reelection in November.

In a video posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, Sinema cited the "anger and division" of politics today as one reason for her departure after a single term in the Senate. She highlighted bipartisan efforts she has undertaken to improve infrastructure, boost manufacturing and create jobs, but said in today's Senate, bipartisan efforts are "considered failures," and "compromise is a dirty word."

"I believe in my approach, but it's not what America wants right now,"
Sinema said. "I love Arizona, and I am so proud of what we've delivered. Because I choose civility, understanding, listening, working together to get stuff done, I will leave the Senate at the end of this year."

Sinema was first elected to Congress in 2012 as a Democratic representative serving Arizona's 9th District and made history as the first openly bisexualmember of Congress. She was elected to the Senate in 2018.

Her plans for 2024 were the subject of major speculation, since her seat will be key to determiningcontrol of the Senate. Recent polling showed her in third place in the race behind Democrat Ruben Gallego and Republican Kari Lake.

Sinema often found herself at odds with the more progressive wing of her party. She opposed raising taxes on the wealthy and ending the filibuster to make it easier for Democrats to pass legislation in the Senate. In 2022, she left the Democratic Party and registered as an independent.

Gallego — who mounted his own candidacy over a year ago, shortly after Sinema's split with the Democratic Party — thanked Sinema for her nearly two decades of service in Arizona politics — and also cast himself as an alternative candidate for the state's many independent voters.

"Democrats, independents, and Republicans alike are coming together and rejecting Kari Lake and her dangerous positions," Gallego said in a statement. "I welcome all Arizonans, including Senator Sinema, to join me in that mission."

Lake, too, sought to capitalize on Sinema's decision to forgo the race by playing up Sinema's independent bonafides.

"Senator Sinema had the courage to stand tall against the Far-Left in defense of the filibuster—despite the overwhelming pressure from the radicals in her party like Ruben Gallego who called on her to burn it all down," Lake postedon social media.

"Arizonans will not be fooled by Gallego. I will be a voice for ALL Arizonans," Lake added.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Lexie Schapitl is a production assistant with NPR's Washington Desk, where she produces radio pieces and digital content. She also reports from the field and assists with production of the NPR Politics Podcast.
Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.
Ben Giles