Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) pushed back at the Arizona Democratic Party’s move to censure his state colleague, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), for refusing to change her position on changing filibuster rules, with his campaign telling The Arizona Republic that the senator did not support such action.
Sarah Guggenheimer with Kelly’s campaign told the news outlet on Tuesday that the senator “does not support the censure” of Sinema after she and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) voted with all 50 Republican senators against changing the filibuster rules for voting rights legislation.
The 60-vote legislative rule has been considered a major roadblock for Democrats who are trying to pass key priorities such as voting rights legislation. Senate Democrats would have needed all 50 members to vote in favor of filibuster reform in addition to a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Harris.
But Sinema’s vote against changing such legislation, in addition to Manchin’s opposition, was pretty much expected given Sinema’s and Manchin’s support for the 60-vote legislative rule. The move was slammed by the Arizona Democratic Party over the weekend and its executive board censured Sinema as a result.
“While they came to different decisions on this vote, he looks forward to continuing to work with Senator Sinema on Arizona priorities, as they have done during his first year in the Senate to pass critical infrastructure investments that will create good-paying jobs,” Guggenheimer told the Arizona Republic.
Kelly’s stance comes as the Arizona senator is expected to face a competitive reelection bid this upcoming November. Kelly’s Senate seat is rated as a “toss up,” according to Cook Political Report’s latest Senate race ratings.
But the remarks also come as Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who targeted Sinema for her refusal to support filibuster reform for voting rights legislation, has said that he has been approached by Democrats about possibly challenging Sinema in a 2024 Democratic primary.
Some senators have not made their position clear yet on whether they support a primary challenge to Sinema or Manchin, though Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) notably dodged one such question last week ahead of their vote on changing filibuster rules.
Nate Burleson, one of the hosts for “CBS Mornings,” asked Warren last week if the two senators should be challenged in the Democratic primaries in 2024.
“We’ll address that when we get past this week,” the progressive Democrat replied.
The Hill has reached out to Kelly’s campaign and Sinema’s office for further comment.