Since Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema made headlines Friday with her announcement that she is ditching the democrat party to register as an Independent, speculation as to her motivation has run rampant.
Never adverse to doing whatever it takes to promote herself, beginning in her days as a Green Party candidate and moving on to a dem with an incredibly false story of growing up in an abandoned gas station without running water and electricity. Sinema is now a newly transformed Independent. The actual motive for this move is to expand her voter base to gain votes when she is likely to be challenged by far left dem U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, (CD-7). In a statement issued shortly after it was made public that Sinema was leaving the democrat party to become an independent, Gallego accused Sinema of “putting her own interests” ahead of those of Arizona residents.
Arizona’s two U.S. Senate seats are both currently held by democrats for the first time since 1953. Senate terms are six years, three times as long as members of the U.S. House of Representatives who run every two years.
The last time Arizona had two democrat U.S. Senators was when Ernest McFarland and Carl Hayden represented the state. Hayden had been the territorial sheriff, first running for congress in 1911 in anticipation of Arizona’s 1912 statehood. He was born in Hayden’s Ferry, Arizona Territory, which was later renamed Tempe in 1878. McFarland was unique — serving in all three branches of government, elected to the U.S. Senate, where he became the Senate majority leader; Arizona’s governor, and the state’s Supreme Court Chief Justice.
Arizona does have a precedent for a party switching member of congress. Democrat Bob Stump served four terms in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1959 to 1967, followed by five terms in the Arizona State Senate from 1967 to 1976, where he was senate president. He was first elected to congress in 1976 as a democrat. After voting for President Reagan’s tax cuts in 1981, he announced his party switch to Republican. U.S. Rep. Stump remained popular, and continued to win by wide margins, until his retirement in 2000.
Sinema asserts she will not caucus with Republicans and says that she intends to vote the same way she has while in the U.S. Senate. “Nothing will change about my values or my behavior,” she said.
Interestingly, there is not a word on her U.S. Senatorial site about her change of party affiliation. Calls to her Phoenix and Tucson offices transferred to Washington DC, and went unanswered.