Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has revealed that she won’t be running for a second term. Her separation from the Democrats has left her politically homeless. Without a party, a re-election bid was pretty much impossible.

Sinema’s decision came after the Senate blocked a bipartisan bill she spent months negotiating. The bill aimed to secure the U.S.-Mexico border and deliver military aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Tackling Political Divide

She believes that an agreement would have been a signature feat. The bill would have proven her belief that cross-party agreements are possible.

Source: Twitter/Not_the_Bee

But in the end, her border security plans were swallowed by the partisanship that has paralyzed Congress. Thus, ending her congress career.

Civility Over Re-election Bid

“I love Arizona and I am so proud of what we’ve delivered,” she said in a video posted to social media. “Because I choose civility, understanding, listening, and working together to get stuff done, I will leave the Senate at the end of this year.”

Source: Gannett-cdn

Her decision to step down avoids a three-way contest in one of the most popular 2024 Senate races. The tough-to-predict contest has caused a lot of arguments among political experts. The debate was on which party would gain an advantage in the race to control the Senate.

Sinema’s Fundraising Falls Short

Many experts thought Sinema would have encountered big hurdles if she decided to run again. She had been raising funds for a potential re-election bid. She was also working to increase her visibility in Arizona last year. But as her announcement approached, her activeness started to drop.

Source: Twitter/RubenGallego

She had amassed a substantial campaign fund of $10.6 million as of last year. But both Democrat Ruben Gallego and Republican Kari Lake exceeded her fundraising efforts.

Sinema’s Party Exit: Not Fitting In

Sinema was a Democrat for much of her political journey. But she left the party in December 2022, because she felt out of place in the two-party structure. She left because of her tendency to prioritize business interests over progressive goals. As expected, this caused her to become distant from many colleagues and the Democratic base.

Source: Twitter/anyonewantchips

In contrast to the usual party loyalty, she actively built relationships with Republicans. Her decision to become independent left Democrats worried. Why? Because they know she could split the left-leaning vote, potentially helping Republicans win.

Aspiration: McCain, Reality: Flake

Sinema sought to model her Senate career after John McCain. The Arizona Republican was known for his willingness to defy his party’s norms. That trait sometimes angered his party’s base. However, it did appeal to the state’s more moderate voters.

Source: Wikimedia/BstarXO – Chester L. Roberts

However, she ended up towing a path more similar to Jeff Flake. Flake was a former Arizona Republican senator who clashed with then-President Donald Trump. Like Sinema, he also got isolated by his party. Flake also chose not to run for re-election after realizing he wouldn’t win in primaries.

Future Plans Uncertain

Flake made headlines in 2020 when he endorsed Democrat Joe Biden over Trump. He was later made an ambassador to Turkey by Biden.

Source: Twitter/Proud Elephant

Sinema has not revealed her future plans. But in her statement, she claimed that she took the decision because of the political divide. She also noted that Americans seem too deeply rooted in partisanship.

Condemning Political Symbolism

She condemned the prevailing mindset in politics. She also argued and stood against symbolic gestures and social media attacks against opponents. These tactics were often used to secure contemporary wins.

Source: AP Photo/Matt York

Sinema’s election in 2018 marked a significant milestone for Democrats. It was the first time in a generation that they secured a Senate seat in Arizona, a traditionally Republican stronghold.

Sinema’s Bipartisan Senate Impact

During her time in the Senate, Sinema played a pivotal role in several major bipartisan agreements. She played roles in infrastructure and gun control legislation. The first openly bisexual senator also played a big role in the protection of same-sex marriages.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Known for her cooperative approach, she actively engaged with members of both parties. She frequently mingled with Republican lawmakers on the Senate floor. She also delved into the intricacies of policy details during negotiations. She even went as far as often documenting them in spreadsheets and notebooks.

Colleagues Praise Sinema’s Senate Impact

Sinema’s Arizona colleague, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, said her absence will be felt in the Senate. “Infrastructure bill, gun safety legislation, marriage equality. I mean some of that stuff doesn’t happen without her. So she will be a big loss to the institution,” Kelly said.

Source: Wikimedia/United States Senate

Chuck Scheme is the Senate Democratic leader of New York. Despite her patchy relationship with Sinema, she acknowledged her “a trail of accomplishments in the Senate.” Her choice not to endorse certain progressive priorities has sparked constant criticism. Though to her credit, she supports Democrats on most nominations and laws,

Filibuster Support Sparks Progressive Frustration

Progressives were consistently frustrated by her support of the Senate’s filibuster rule. Under the rule, a 60-vote threshold was required for passing most legislation. It granted Republicans too much influence despite the Democratic majority.

Source: Twitter/TheRichFromCali

Sinema argued that the rule showed the desires of most voters. It also supports her bipartisan alliance views. Her opposition blocked her party’s plans to raise taxes on wealthy investors. Under the proposed bill, a lot of wealthy companies and persons would have seen their taxes skyrocket. She even received financial support from various financial experts for opposing the bill.

Bold Moves Stir Drama

At times, Sinema has appeared to relish her role as an opposing voice. She notably curtsied while voting against a proposal to increase the minimum wage. Not long after, she posted a photo on Instagram wearing a ring with a provoking message.

Source: Twitter/thehill

Snema has faced confrontations in public settings. Activists have confronted her in a restroom seeking explanations for her actions. Critics have even gone as far as interrupting a wedding she attended. Reverend Jesse Jackson was among those arrested during a protest outside her Phoenix office.

From Activism To Legislature Success

At the start of her career, she identified as a “Prada socialist”. Her journey also includes an unsuccessful bid for local office as a Green Party member.

Source: Twitter/RpsAgainstTrump

Subsequently, she found success in Arizona’s Legislature as a Democrat. There she emerged as a vocal opponent of Republican initiatives. Her efforts also earned a reputation as a prominent spokesperson for progressive causes.