Guest Editorial: Always Cover Your Flank

By Alexander Lomax

A few weeks back I wrote about how Senator Kyrsten Sinema had ticked off a good portion of the Arizona Democratic electorate. Now we have an idea of how much she self-immolated with the Dem voter base. OH Predictive Insights conducted a poll recently which showed what voters thought about her.

The findings? 30% of Democrats had an unfavorable view of her (and 50% with a favorable view). For a point of comparison, only 11% of Democrats had an unfavorable view of Mark Kelly. Even more problematic is how “Liberal Democrats” felt about her; a full 40% of them had an unfavorable view. Why is that more problematic? Because they are more likely to vote in a primary than what OH labeled “Conservative/Moderate Democrats”.

Is this the beginning of the end for Senator Sinema? It’s far too early to make that declaration, considering that she has a full 3 years ahead of her before re-election. Moreover, seeing the hard numbers will likely be more of a wake-up call to her and her staff than any conjecture and ranting on Twitter. She has plenty of time to pivot towards the left and attempt to save face with the more liberal wing of the party. And she will have an incredible amount of money to make her case.

That money will probably be her biggest protection from a threat from her left flank. After all, there are very few Dems in this state who could get even close to competing with her in fundraising. There will undoubtedly be some token opposition in 2024, but as the 2018 primary showed (when Sinema gathered 80% of the primary vote), token opposition is no opposition at all.

One of those Dems who could compete financially? Congressman Ruben Gallego, who was heavily rumored to be planning to run against her in the 2018 primary. He has wide support that ranges from the progressive left to the moderate wing of the party. There is little doubt in my mind that the calls for him to run will get louder, with the window for a primary election challenger opening more widely.