Tag: kyrsten sinema
Kyrsten Sinema

Sinema Took $27K From Lenders After Voting To Kill Biden's Student Debt Bill

Earlier this year, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) voted with Senate Republicans for legislation to kill President Joe Biden's student debt forgiveness proposal. In the months following that vote, she was a major recipient of the student loan industry's largesse.

The bill itself, H.J. Res 45, would have blocked Biden's plan to forgive up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower, though the president promised to veto it if it reached his desk, and the Supreme Court ultimately struck down the proposal at the end of its 2023 session. The bill narrowly passed the Senate in June, with 52 votes in favor and 46 in opposition. Sinema joined forces with all Senate Republicans to give the bill the narrow majority it needed for passage. Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Az) and Jon Tester (D-MT) also voted with the GOP to pass the measure.

According to the Phoenix New Times, Sinema proceeded to rake in thousands of dollars in contributions from various donors connected to student loan servicers, for-profit colleges, banks and debt collectors after her vote.

The New Times combed through Sinema's campaign finance disclosure forms on the Federal Election Commission database and learned that the Arizona senator received approximately $27,000 in PAC donations between June and September of 2023. That includes a $5,000 contribution from NelNet PAC, which is a political action committee representing the interests of the second-largest provider of federally backed loans given by private lenders. Sinema also received $5,000 from a PAC connected to private lender Sallie Mae and $5,000 from a PAC run by the board chair of a for-profit Arizona college.

Smaller donations from the industry during that time period include a $2,500 donation from debt collector Portfolio Recovery Associates, $2,500 from a Washington, DC-based trade association representing the interests of for-profit colleges, and a combined $7,000 in donations from three PACs run by banks.

Despite her fundraising activity, Arizona's senior US senator has not yet indicated if she plans to run for reelection in 2024. She currently faces opposition from Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and failed 2022 Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who campaigned as a vociferous supporter of former President Donald Trump.

Current polls show a virtual dead heat between the three candidates, with Gallego having a slight edge over his two opponents. Gallego brought in more than $3 million in donations during the third quarter of 2023, with an average donation amount of $28.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Kari Lake

In Arizona Senate Race, Kari Lake Is A Big GOP Problem

Senate Republicans already have an Arizona problem they are trying to fix.

Their top GOP candidate, 2022 gubernatorial loser Kari Lake, isn't polling well against the top Democratic candidate, Rep. Ruben Gallego, and independent incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. In fact, one recent survey found Sinema, who is polling third in the contest, pulling more votes away from Lake than Gallego.

Noble Predictive Insights’ late October polling of the hypothetical three-way contest showed Gallego at 39 percent, Lake at 33 percent, and Sinema at 29 percent. Notably, Gallego inspired far more party loyalty than Lake, with Sinema drawing support from nearly twice as many Republican voters (23 percent) as Democrats (12 percent).

In early October, a Public Policy Polling survey commissioned by the Gallego campaign similarly showed him winning a 41 percent plurality of the vote to Lake's 36 percent, with Sinema garnering just 15 percent. The same poll found a head-to-head favoring Gallego at 48 percent over Lake at 43 percent.

What makes the polling particularly ominous for Republicans is the fact that Lake is extremely well known by voters across the state after her high-profile but ultimately unsuccessful bid for governor last cycle. In other words, most voters have made up their mind about her.

That leaves Republicans with one chief tactic at this point: trying to drive down support for the other two candidates. Thus, the National Republican Senatorial Committee's latest ad blasting Gallego's personal life and tying Sinema's voting record to President Joe Biden. The ad frames the choice facing voters as one between "Rotten Rubin," who "abandoned" his pregnant wife when he filed for divorce, and Sinema, who "voted for Biden's agenda 100% of the time." The ad accuses Gallego of being a "deadbeat dad" without providing any evidence and slams Sinema as a "liberal Democrat." Yikes, what could be worse?

But the main takeaway here is that Senate Republicans are already grasping at straws in order to prop up a Trump-aligned election denier who enters the race with high name ID and a boatload of baggage.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Kyrsten Sinema

Sinema's Campaign Funds 'Drying Up' As Democratic Donors Drop Her

Donors who gave to Senator Kyrsten Sinema's (I-AZ) 2018 US Senate campaign have largely left her for her Democratic opponent, according to federal campaign finance records.

As of the latest available Federal Election Commission data, Politicoreports that Sinema is finding little financial support in what's shaping up to be a close three-way race next November. Following her exit from the Democratic Party last December and Rep. Ruben Gallego's (D-AZ) campaign launch the following month, Sinema has had very little success maintaining enthusiasm among the financial backers who propelled her last campaign five years ago.

Sinema still has nearly $11 million in the bank from all of her combined fundraising, which is more than Gallego's total haul. However, according to Politico's breakdown of donor totals, Gallego has raised nearly three times as much as Sinema from the same group of 2018 Democratic donors the incumbent senator depended on when she first won the seat.

"Her fundraising is somewhat dried up," Arizona Republican operative Barrett Marson told Politico. "There isn’t an independent donor base as there is a Republican donor base and a Democratic donor base."

Rep. Gallego is also raking in donors who gave to Senator Mark Kelly's (D-AZ) 2022 campaign. When analyzing money from donors who gave at least $200 in the previous campaign cycle, Gallego has raised approximately $1.7 million from Kelly's backers. Sinema, by comparison, has only brought in roughly $205,000. Politico also found that Sinema's "burn rate" — the amount of money spent on a campaign versus the amount raised — is significant for an off year, with the embattled Arizona senator spending nearly half of her 2023 haul despite her not yet officially declaring for reelection.

Should Sinema declare her intent to run for another term in 2024, she would likely be pitted against both Gallego and Republican former TV news anchor Kari Lake — who ran a failed campaign for governor in 2022 on a far-right platform and who has still not conceded her loss. An internal Republican poll released last week found Gallego with a narrow lead of less than two percentage points in a three-way race, but slightly behind Lake in a two-way race without Sinema running a campaign of her own.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Kyrsten Sinema

Book: Egocentric Sinema Is Keen To Cash In On Her Senate Infamy

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), who has been a thorn in the side of both President Joe Biden and the Senate Democratic Caucus, is already eyeing a potentially lucrative private sector career if her bid to stay in the US Senate is unsuccessful.

In Atlantic staff writer McKay Coppins' new biography of outgoing Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), Sinema — an independent who caucuses with Democrats (although she left the Democratic Party in 2022) — apparently confided to the 2012 Republican presidential nominee that she's apathetic about staying in Washington for another six-year term. Arizona's senior US senator added that she feels she unilaterally "saved" the upper chamber of Congress by bucking' Democrats' efforts to eliminate the filibuster.

"I don’t care. I can go on any board I want to. I can be a college president. I can do anything,” she told Romney. “I saved the Senate filibuster by myself. I saved the Senate by myself. That’s good enough for me."

As the New Republicnoted, the filibuster isn't actually a tradition in the Senate, nor is it even mentioned in the US Constitution. Former President Barack Obama once called it a "Jim Crow relic." Sinema's colleague, Senator Angus King (I-ME), has called for it to be reformed by requiring those who use it to actually hold the Senate floor in what's known as a "talking filibuster."

"[I]nstead of having to have 60 votes to pass something, you'd have to have 41 votes to stop it. That way, the minority would at least have to show up," Sen. King said of the filibuster in 2021, when it was used to stop voting rights legislation. "So we've got to do something about this, at least when it comes to something as crucial as democracy itself, as voting rights."

The New Republic's Jason Linkins wrote last weekend that Sinema's obstinacy in getting rid of the filibuster has led to Democrats being unable to pass significant legislative reforms — not only in the arena of voting rights, but in an assortment of other social programs included in Biden's Build Back Better Act that Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema ultimately watered down and killed. Sinema was also a key opposition vote in Democrats' unsuccessful attempt to keep the expanded child tax credit.

"Her steadfast opposition to taxing corporations and the wealthy cut off the one funding mechanism that Manchin was willing to countenance to keep it running," Linkins wrote.

Sinema is currently running as an independent in the 2024 US Senate race against both presumptive Republican nominee Kari Lake and presumptive Democratic nominee Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona). An early October poll showed Lake in front, with 37 percent of respondents saying they would vote for her next November. Gallego was second, with 33 percent, while Sinema came in third with just 19 percent support.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.