Arizona’s Senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema is leaving the Democratic Party and registering as an independent.
Sinema announced her departure in an op-ed written for The Arizona Republic on Friday. In the letter, Sinema claimed that “Everyday Americans are increasingly left behind by national parties’ rigid partisanship, which has hardened in recent years,” and that by “catering to the fringes, neither party has demonstrated much tolerance for diversity of thought.”
She went on to add that “Americans are told that we have only two choices – Democrat or Republican – and that we must subscribe wholesale to policy views the parties hold,” a view which she wrote most Arizonans believe “is a false choice.”
It was for these reasons, she wrote, that “I registered as an Arizona independent.”
Her announcement comes just days after Democrats bolstered control of the Senate with a win for incumbent senator Raphael Warnock in the Georgia run-off. With Warnock’s win, Democrats had clinched a 51-49 majority in the chamber.
Sinema shared news of her decision with majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Thursday, The New York Times reports. According to the Times reporting, Sinema “would keep her committee positions through the Democrats” although it’s uncertain whether or not she will caucus with them, as two other independent senators – Bernie Sanders (VT) and Angus King (ME) – currently do.
She will not caucus with the Republicans, according to a statement she made to Politico.
Since 2020, when Democrats regained control of the Senate, Sinema, along with fellow Democrat senator Joe Manchin (WV) has held out on voting in line with some Democrat party priorities.
More recently, she was one of a bipartisan group of senators to sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, which passed in the chamber last month.