(WASHINGTON D.C.) — Arizona U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema announced Friday morning that she is done with the Democratic party and has registered as an Independent. She said when she ran for the Senate she pledged “to be independent and work with anyone to achieve lasting results.” She added when politicians are more focused on partisan politics “the people who lose are everyday Americans.” Sinema said she’s joining “the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington.”
BREAKING: Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema leaves Democratic Party, registers as independenthttps://t.co/CgSSbjD11z
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 9, 2022
Sinema’s announcement comes just days after Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock won re-election in a runoff giving Democrats a 51-49 majority. Now with Sinema’s party affiliation change, the balance of power shifts to 50-50 if she caucuses with the Republicans. Vice President Harris would then be the tie-breaking vote. Sinema would not say on CNN whether she would join the ranks of independent Sens. Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont who caucus with Democrats. Sinema’s switch to Independent not only gives more political power to herself and swing Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, but also shakes up Washington and weakens Senate Democrats’ newly acquired outright majority.
In an interview with Politico, Sinema said she “won’t caucus with Republicans” and suggested she intends to vote the same way she has during her time in the Senate. Independent senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine caucus with the Democrats. She added she expects to keep what committee assignments she has.
She also didn’t say whether she’ll run for reelection in 2024.