Senate

EMILY’s List says it won’t endorse Sinema unless she relents on filibuster

EMILY’s List announced on Tuesday that it will not endorse Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) unless she relents on her opposition to weakening the legislative filibuster for voting rights legislation.

The statement from the progressive organization, which supports pro-abortion rights women running for office, comes as the Senate is considering a voting rights reform bill that is poised to fail because of GOP opposition.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has vowed to force a change of the 60-vote legislative filibuster if Senate Republicans block the effort, a move that would require support from all 50 Democrats to succeed.

Sinema, however, reiterated her support last week for the legislative filibuster, dampening the party’s chances of passing election reform.

EMILY’s List on Tuesday linked its marquee issue of abortion rights to the importance of having free and fair elections. 

“Electing Democratic pro-choice women is not possible without free and fair elections. Protecting the right to choose is not possible without access to the ballot box,” the group wrote.

“So, we want to make it clear: if Sen. Sinema can not support a path forward for the passage of this legislation, we believe she undermines the foundations of our democracy, her own path to victory and also the mission of EMILY’s List, and we will be unable to endorse her moving forward,” the group added.

Sinema, during a floor speech last week, said she supports the Democrats’ two voting rights bills, but that she cannot support eliminating the filibuster. She called the legislative hurdle “a critical tool that we need to safeguard our democracy.”

Sinema, who was first elected to the Senate in 2018, will not face election again until 2024.

EMILY’s List said it has not endorsed or contributed to Sinema since she was elected.

“Right now, Sen. Sinema’s decision to reject the voices of allies, partners and constituents who believe the importance of voting rights outweighs that of an arcane process means she will find herself standing alone in the next election,” the group wrote.

Sinema reacted to EMILY’s List’s announcement in a statement Tuesday evening, emphasizing the importance of debating key issues while also pointing out that the filibuster has been used to protect women’s health care in the past.

She also said she respects individuals who have reached a different conclusion on how to reform voting rights.

“While the Senate’s 60-vote threshold to end debate on legislation has been used repeatedly to protect against wild swings in federal policy, including in the area of protecting women’s health care, I said on the Senate floor last week that different people of good faith can have honest disagreements about policy and strategy,” Sinema said.

“Such honest disagreements are normal, and I respect those who have reached different conclusions on how to achieve our shared goals of addressing voter suppression and election subversion, and making the Senate work better for everyday Americans,” she added.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday said he thinks there is a “good chance” that Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) — another centrist Democrat opposed to weakening the filibuster — will face primary challenges in the future.

Asked if he would support a challenger, Sanders said “Yeah, I would.”

Updated at 9:48 p.m.

Senate