Gallego announces campaign for Sinema Senate seat

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) announced on Monday that he would be running for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (I-Ariz.) Senate seat, teeing up the possibility of an incumbent-on-incumbent general election challenge against the senator.

“Growing up poor, all I had was the American dream. It kept me going: as a kid sleeping on the floor, a student scrubbing toilets, a Marine losing brothers in Iraq,” Gallego said in a post on Twitter announcing his candidacy. 

“Today, too many Arizonans see their dream slipping away,” Gallego added. “I’m running for the U.S. Senate to win it back for you!”

There had been speculation for months that Gallego would run for Sinema’s seat in 2024 as he mounted jabs at the senator. The senator added a new variable to the possible 2024 Arizona Senate race by announcing late last year she would be changing her party affiliation to independent, though she has not formally announced whether she’ll be running for the Senate in two years.

Democrats in Congress have viewed Sinema at times as a roadblock to passing Democratic priorities as she and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have defended the filibuster, a rule that requires most pieces of legislation to require at least 60 votes to pass in the Senate.

While Gallego focused on introducing himself in his first campaign ad — including growing up as one of four children with a single mother and speaking about his educational and military experience in Iraq — his campaign platform and first interviews since his announcement has shown that his primary target is Sinema.

“I’m better for this job than Kyrsten Sinema because I haven’t forgotten where I came from,” Gallego said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press published on Monday. “I think she clearly has forgotten where she came from. Instead of meeting with the people that need help, she meets with the people that are already powerful.”

The congressman also has a section on his campaign webpage titled, “Kyrsten Sinema betrayed Arizona families,” arguing that Sinema has put wealthier individuals and groups ahead of her constituents. 

Though no Republicans have formally entered the 2024 Senate race, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Senate Democrats will be forced to contend with whether to support Sinema should she choose to run again or support Gallego. 

Updated at 9:04 a.m.

Tags 2024 2024 Senate elections Arizona Kyrsten Sinema Ruben Gallego Ruben Gallego

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