Arizona Party Punishes Sinema for Vote on Filibuster

Chairwoman says voting rights are more important than Senate rules
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2022 3:40 PM CST
Arizona Party Punishes Sinema for Vote on Filibuster
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, shown in November,   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(Newser) – Three years after becoming a hero to Arizona Democrats for winning a US Senate seat long held by Republicans, Sen. Krysten Sinema was formally censured Saturday by the state party for her part in blocking voting rights legislation. The Arizona Democratic Party's executive committee cited Sinema's vote against changing the Senate's filibuster rules to allow Democrats to pass the measures, ABC News reports. "In the choice between an archaic legislative norm and protecting Arizonans’ right to vote, we choose the latter, and we always will," Chairwoman Raquel Teran said Saturday.

Teran's statement criticized Sinema's "failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy." Sinema's stand had brought praise from the state's Republican governor this week, per KTAR. "I want to give Sen. Sinema credit for standing up and protecting a Senate rule that she believes in," Gov. Doug Ducey said. Sinema's office released a defense of her decision on Saturday, per CNN. "During three terms in the US House, and now in the Senate, Kyrsten has always promised Arizonans she would be an independent voice for the state—not for either political party," it said.

The party's decision is symbolic but illustrative of the growing divide between Sinema and most Democrats. She says her positions prove her independence, while other Democrats and organizations decry them as opportunism, per the Washington Post. Two groups that support abortion rights, Emily's List and NARAL, ended their support of Sinema unless she changes her mind on the filibuster. Sinema maintains she supports the voting rights bills despite her support of the filibuster. (The party is considering supporting challengers to Sinema in 2024.)

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