U.S. Senator switches parties and plunges Washington, D.C. into mayhem

The Senate chamber has been hotly contested for years. Every single vote matters.

But now a top U.S. Senator switching parties has plunged D.C. into total mayhem.

Despite not declaring her intentions for 2024, surveys indicate Arizona voters may be ready for a fresh face in the Senate, where the incumbent is former Democrat Kyrsten Sinema (AZ).

Public Policy Polling’s early results show that Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) is far outpacing his Republican opponent, Kari Lake (36% to 41%). In a hypothetical three-way race, Sinema is polling at 15%, with 8% undecided.

The poll shows that Sinema is losing ground even without Lake’s announcing yet. Lake’s primary Republican opponent, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, is trailing in third place behind Gallego and Lake. Next in line was Lamb with 31% of the vote, followed by Sinema with 16% and 13% unsure.

Sinema has been mum about her intentions for the upcoming election cycle despite the fact that she changed her party registration from Democrat to Independent immediately after the 2022 midterms. However, surveys indicate that she may have trouble keeping her position for a second term.

Only 23% of those polled said Sinema should seek re-election to the Arizona Senate, while 58% said she should not. She has a 26% favorability rating and a 52% unfavorability rating.

Lake’s candidacy is expected to hurt the Arizona senator’s election chances, despite reports that her campaign has been circulating a strategy describing how Sinema can appeal to voter groups across Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.

Months of rumors culminated on October 3 when the former Arizona gubernatorial candidate formally announced her intention to run for the Senate in 2024. She campaigned as a Republican against current Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs (D), and she refuses to accept defeat, maintaining that the elections were fraudulent.

Lake’s staunch conservatism has Arizona’s GOP establishment worried that 2022 will be repeated, when several hardline Republicans defeated moderate GOP candidates in the primary but fell to the Democrats in the general. Several unsuccessful candidates, following in the footsteps of Trump after his own 2020 defeat, are now alleging widespread voter fraud.

Lake lost to Hobbs, but she has a strong following among Trump supporters in the state. This could benefit her in a rematch for the Senate.

This has the potential to sway undecided votes from the Republican and Independent camps away from Sinema, specifically the 13% and 8%, respectively, in the hypothetical contests. CookPoliticalReport rates the race as a “toss-up” for this seat.

Gallego’s team commissioned the Public Policy Polling survey of 522 Arizona voters to be conducted between October 6 and 7. The survey has a 4.3% confidence interval.

Sinema’s seat is not included in one of the 19 Senate seats that the Democrats will be defending that are up for grabs in the 2024 election.

For comparison, the Republicans only have 10 seats up for grabs in the 2024 election cycle. Already, the Democrats were going to have an absolutely awful time trying to hold on to power in the Upper Chamber of Congress.

Sinema’s seat now very much being in play changes everything. At one point, Sinema was viewed as someone who would potentially be a mainstay for the Democrats and hold on to that Arizona seat.

But her announcing that she was leaving the Democrat Party threw everything for a loop. Now the Democrats are in a situation where they could be losing anywhere from two to six seats, easily, come November 2024.

They only have themselves to blame for this, however. Sinema, as well as a number of other high-profile Democrats have left the Democrat party because they feel as though it’s become far too radical for their tastes.

Stay tuned to the DC Daily Journal.

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