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Left: U.S. Rep Raul Grijalva. Right: U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego.
Left: U.S. Rep Raul Grijalva. Right: U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego. Photos: Getty Images.

Grijalva boards the Gallego train, endorses him for Senate

Rubén Gallego, a Marine Combat Veteran, is running to unseat Kyrsten Sinema in 2024.

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Arizona U.S. House Representative Raúl Grijalva delivered an early endorsement for Ruben Gallego on Wednesday, Jan. 25, ahead of his Senate bid to unseat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in the 2024 race. 

Grijalva, a fellow progressive and Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, said he trusts Gallego “to serve Arizona, and that’s why he has earned my support for United States Senate” against Sinema, who, following the favorable results for Democrats in the midterms, switched her party affiliation to Independent. 

Lauded as a rising progressive in House chambers, Gallego, 43, is gloves off as he builds momentum for his campaign, which has focused its initial efforts on tackling Sinema’s record. 

“The problem isn’t that Senator Sinema abandoned the Democratic Party — it’s that she’s abandoned Arizona. She’s repeatedly broken her promises and fought for the interests of big pharma and Wall Street at our expense,” Gallego said in his campaign launch. 

Sinema has yet to indicate whether she is considering a re-election campaign, and the outlook is split. Consultants say if Sinema can rally sufficient independent voters, coupled with strong Republican and Democratic turnout, she has a shot at securing a second term. 

She has largely stayed on message.

“I’m here to get things done,” she told a group of business leaders and mayors in Arizona. “And that’s, as you all know, that’s what I’ve been doing over the last 20 years and it’s what I’m going to continue doing. The bipartisan victories that I was lucky enough to shepherd through as lead author in the last Congress include the bipartisan infrastructure law, securing a cleaner and safer water future for Arizona, I also helped shepherd through the Chips and Science Act.”

Funding may also play a role in swaying her re-election. She spent much of her time in Congress catering to the corporate class — at times writing legislation that imitated suggested recommendations from lobbyists — and it could fuel her campaign. 

Netting millions of dollars from the corporate lobby, Sinema has pushed legislation that has thwarted Democrats’ efforts to raise taxes on wealthy investors, at the expense of the party, in a bill that made its way to Biden’s desk in August. 

The bill — mostly untouched when given to Sinema — spared private equity from a “carried interest” tax interest while simultaneously securing a $35 million exemption that spares the industry from a separate tax increase, which other corporations are now responsible for as well. 

In doing so, she’s filled fundraising coffers to the tune of millions, standing steadfastly as a centrist who doesn’t cater to the interests of any particular political aisle, making her party affiliation an expected transition. 

Sinema is also closely partnered with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a fellow centrist, who said, “Kyrsten Sinema needs to be backed” when asked if he supported an incoming reelection bid. 

The Gallego camp has made Sinema’s unusual alignments with private interests the tenet of his campaign. 

“It’s the fact that also, she doesn’t even communicate to the voters of Arizona,” Gallego said in an interview amid announcing his nomination for the Senate. “When I go and talk to the people of Arizona, they don’t hear from [Kyrsten Sinema]. They don’t know what her motivation is anymore. They don’t trust her anymore,” he continued. 

In that same breath, Gallego said that unless you were holding a high-ticket fundraiser, it was unlikely for an Arizonan to meet the Senator. 

But Gallego has also shown tactful fundraising skills, having raised over $1 million just a day after he launched his bid, with contributions stemming from 27,000 contributors. 

“Ruben Gallego’s story is an Arizona story. He is tough, loyal, brave, and will always work to protect the most vulnerable,” Grijalva’s endorsement read. “Ruben has a long history of fighting for our shared values and not backing down. During his time in office, he’s delivered results that matter to Arizona’s working families.”

One of the first bills he passed as a state lawmaker was a bill to grant in-state tuition status to veterans residing in Arizona while also standing against military intervention in Iraq against then-president Barack Obama. 

Gallego, a combat veteran, also questioned former Republican President Donald Trump and his decision to launch an airstrike on Syria. 

“Congress deserves a debate and a vote on authorizing further military action in Syria,” he said. 

Through his record, Gallego poised himself as an independent legislator without removing himself from the party, a route Sinema struggled with as she attempted to cross the aisle and work closely with Republicans. 

Gallego also led BOLD PAC, a group that worked to get a record number of Latino's elected across local, state, and national offices, many of whom begin their first terms in the new Congress.

Though, the question remains if Gallego’s efforts will continue given his campaign. 

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