Kyrsten Sinema Announces She Won't Seek Reelection to Senate

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) walks to an elevator outside the Senate Chamber during a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 19, 2022. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo
March 5, 2024

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I., Ariz.) announced Tuesday that she will not seek reelection to the Senate in November.

Sinema, who has served Arizona in a variety of public state and federal offices since 2005, posted a video on X in which she decried the furthering of America's partisan divide, contrasting the country's politics with her approach, which she characterized as more unifying.

"I believe in my approach, but it's not what America wants right now," she said in the video. "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."

The first-term senator, who left the Democratic Party in 2022 to become an independent, referenced a warning she gave in 2017 that America is approaching a "crossroads," being in danger of moving toward dysfunction and partisanship.

"Despite modernizing our infrastructure, ensuring clean water, delivering good jobs and safer communities, Americans still choose to retreat farther into their partisan corners. ... The only political victories that matter these days are symbolic, attacking your opponents on cable news or social media," Sinema said. "Compromise is a dirty word. We've arrived at that crossroad, and we chose anger and division."

Sinema went on to describe bipartisan bills she helped pass during her time in office, naming the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the CHIPS and Science Act, among others.

"These solutions matter," she said. "They make an impact in the lives of everyday Americans, and this is how government should work. It's been an honor to serve Arizona for the past 20 years. Thank you."

Sinema's departure makes the Senate fight in Arizona a two-person race, between presumptive major-party nominees Rep. Ruben Gallego (D., Ariz.) and Kari Lake, who won the Republican nomination for the state's 2022 gubernatorial race before losing to Gov. Katie Hobbs (D.).

National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Steve Daines said in a statement that Sinema's retirement boosts Republicans' chances of taking her seat in November.

"An open seat in Arizona creates a unique opportunity for Republicans to build a lasting Senate majority this November," Daines said. "With recent polling showing Kyrsten Sinema pulling far more Republican voters than Democrat voters, her decision to retire improves Kari Lake’s opportunity to flip this seat."

Daines reportedly told Republicans in an October 2023 meeting that, although internal polling showed Gallego beating Lake by 4 points, Sinema was pulling more votes from Lake than from Gallego.

The Washington Free Beacon in January filed a motion to unseal the records of Gallego's 2017 divorce. That the records are under seal is unusual, and Gallego has said his divorce is an important part of his journey in politics, publicly commenting on it in at least one interview since announcing his run for the Senate seat. Gallego has said the public interest in the records is "minimal."

Sinema is the second moderate senator to announce that she will not run for reelection in the fall. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) made such a decision in November 2023, leading to speculation that he would run for president with centrist group No Labels. He said in February, however, that he will not seek the presidency in November.