Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), who is running to replace Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), said she won’t support Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) to be the majority leader if the Democrats regain control of the Senate.
Sinema, one of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s (DSCC) most-prized recruits, was pressed by Politico to offer her thoughts on Schumer as the Democratic party’s leader in the Senate.
“I am not going to vote for him,” Sinema said.
Sinema’s position on Schumer is a break from other Senate Democrats, who have either supported Schumer or been mum on whether they would vote for him to be the majority leader if Democrats take back the Senate. Sinema is hopeful that she will win based on her close relationships with Republicans, her praise for moderate Democrats, and her opposition to Schumer, according to Politico:
With no real opponent — Schumer privately backed her for the seat even before she’d announced, helping clear the field — Sinema can press her advantage. She leads McSally by an average of 8 points, according to Real Clear Politics.
“I don’t really think about what’s happening on the other side. That’s their campaign, their primary,” Sinema said recently in a half-hour interview in Washington. “It’s not my problem.”
But national Republicans are getting ready for Sinema. One Republican official working on defeating her said that her 2009 book about her transformation from a self-described “bomb-thrower” to a more pragmatic progressive, will be among the issues Republicans dredge up to paint her as a liberal masquerading as a moderate.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), considered the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, praised Sinema as a moderate, but said that she was misreading Schumer in her opposition to him.
“Basically, he gives his position, I give him my position, we go about our own votes and we go back and work on something different tomorrow. That’s the beauty of Chuck,” Manchin said.
Schumer, who declined to to comment on Sinema’s opposition to him, is not the only national Democratic leader that Sinema has targeted. She also opposed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.).
“The Democratic leadership has failed Democrats across the country,” Sinema said. “I am unafraid to say what I believe about what I think our party needs to do and I think our party needs to grow and change.”
The Democratic primary for the Arizona Senate seat is on August 28.