Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema says she is leaving the Democratic Party and has registered as an independent. Her announcement came just days after Democrats clinched a 51-seat majority in the Senate with Raphael Warnock’s runoff victory in Georgia. Sinema spoke to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: “Both parties have created this kind of requirement or a pull towards the edges that you just unthinkingly support all of one party’s viewpoints. It’s made it difficult to find folks who are willing to work together and solve problems.”
Sinema did not say whether she would continue to caucus with Democrats as an independent, but said she expects to keep her committee assignments, making that scenario appear likely. Sinema, who started out with the Green Party, has gradually shifted further to the right. She was elected to the Senate in 2018 and, along with West Virginia conservative Democrat Joe Manchin, has blocked the party from passing essential legislation, including the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act, tackling climate change and infrastructure. Sinema also voted against changing filibuster rules to pass key voting rights legislation.