The Arizona Democratic Party has rebuked Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) after the state’s first-term senator refused to back a filibuster change on the party’s voting-rights legislation.
In a closed-door vote at the weekend, the Arizona Democratic Party executive committee members passed a resolution to censure Sinema, AZCentral reported.
The liberals in the party characterized Sinema as an obstructionist after she defended the filibuster in a blow to the Democratic push on voting rights.
On Jan. 19, Sinema joined another Democrat—Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)—and all Senate Republicans in a 52-48 vote to preserve the Senate’s legislative filibuster rule. Her support helped kill the Democrats’ push for passing two bills that would have established Election Day as a federal holiday, protected early and mail-voting options, banned partisan gerrymandering, and bolstered election security, among other things. In addition, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would re-establish protections under the Voting Rights Act.
Sinema sponsored the bills, but she did not back the Senate’s legislative filibuster changes, which requires a 60-vote majority to move most bills.
In a statement on their censure, the Arizona Democratic Party chair Raquel Terán said they are not pleased with Sinema’s decision.
“As a party, our job is to support our Democratic candidates, and we appreciate Senator Sinema’s leadership in passing the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” the chair wrote.
“However, we are also here to advocate for our constituents and the ramifications of failing to pass federal legislation that protects their right to vote are too large and far-reaching. While we take no pleasure in this announcement, the ADP Executive Board has decided to formally censure Senator Sinema as a result of her failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy,” the statement added.
The party’s censure has no practical effect, but it may deliver a strong condemnation message and reflect the will of the party’s most active and loyal members.
In a response, Sinema spokesperson, Hannah Hurley, stressed that the senator desires to work outside of partisan politics. However, she has repeated for a long time that the filibuster helps encourage moderation and prevent “wild swings” between opposing political parties.
“During three terms in the U.S. House, and now in the Senate, Kyrsten has always promised Arizonans she would be an independent voice for the state—not for either political party,” Hurley said. “She’s delivered for Arizonans and has always been honest about where she stands.”