Ruben Gallego announces Senate bid in challenge to Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona

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CNN

Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego announced Monday his campaign for the U.S. Senate, which could spark a potential conflict in 2024 with Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who recently switched her party affiliation from Democrat to Independent.

Gallego, a congressman from Phoenix and a retired Marine who served in Iraq, released a video of him telling a group of fellow veterans about his decision to run.

“You are the first group of people to hear this besides my family. I will be challenging Kyrsten Sinema for the United States Senate, and I need all of your support,” the 43-year-old Gallego told the group from a veterans organization in Guadalupe, Arizona.

Sinema has faced fierce criticism from Democrats for opposing elements of President Joe Biden’s agenda. Early last year, when the Arizona senator was still a Democrat, Gallego said some Democratic senators were urging him to run for her seat. Sinema said in December she was switching parties, though she continues to caucus with Senate Democrats and has not said publicly whether she will run for re-election.

“Most families feel they are one or two paychecks away from ruin. That’s not the way we should live in this country,” Gallego said in his announcement video. “The rich and powerful don’t need more advocates. It is the people who still have to choose between groceries and utilities that need a fighter for them.”

Gallego, who is of Colombian and Mexican descent, would be Arizona’s first Latino senator if elected. He spoke in both English and Spanish in his announcement video, describing the hardships and financial instability his family faced growing up

Gallego said his mother, an immigrant, “would cry every night because she was stressed out about how she was going to raise four kids on a secretary’s salary, you know, with an absent father.”

“Fue una experiencia muy dura,” Gallego added in Spanish, which translates to, “It was a very difficult experience.”

Gallego was first elected to the House in 2014. He is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and also served as president of the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, BOLD PAC, during the 2022 cycle.

The Arizona Democrat described in his announcement video how he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after his 2005 deployment to Iraq.

“Losing all my friends, getting shot at all the time and people trying to blow you up all the time – you never really make it back from the war. You’re not the same person,’ Gallego said. “Battle through PTSD, there were some very low moments in my life. But I still didn’t give up. I pushed forward. I have found a new way to keep serving.”

Philip Letsou, a spokesperson for the Senate National Republican Committee, responded to Gallego’s announcement in a statement: “The Democratic Civil War is raging in Arizona. Chuck Schumer has a choice: stand with open-border radical Ruben Gallego or support his incumbent, Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

Several Republicans are considering running for Sinema’s seat. The defeated candidate for governor of Arizona, Kari Lake, is considering a Senate bid, according to a source close to Lake.

Lake lost the Arizona governor’s race in November by less than 1 point to Democrat Katie Hobbs and has not ceded, falsely claiming on Sunday that she won the election. An Arizona judge in December dismissed Lake’s lawsuit to overturn her defeat, concluding there was no clear or convincing evidence of wrongdoing. Lake, a serial promoter of election lies who denies the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, has appealed the court’s decision. The source told CNN that Lake will not make a final decision on a Senate run until after her trial is completed.

Republican Blake Masters, who lost a November challenge to incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly by nearly 5 points, is also “strongly considering” running for the Senate in 2024, according to a spokesman. 2020 election denied but, unlike Lake, conceded his race to Kelly.

Karrin Taylor Robson, who lost to Lake in last year’s Republican primary despite the support of the state’s then GOP governor, Doug Ducey, also indicated she could be open to a Senate bid.

“Instead of checking the radical Biden agenda, our senators continue to enable his disastrous policies, which have been terrible for Arizona,” the former member of the Arizona Board of Regents told CNN in a statement. “While I am still deciding how best to serve the state I love, I agree with the many Arizona residents who have reached out and who, like me, hope that our party will be a strong, authentic will nominate a conservative who will not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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