A consequence of her "independence" is, she loses Democratic Party infrastructure. Whoops!
Democratic Campaign Firms Ditch Sinema
Credit: Gage Skidmore
December 22, 2022

While U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has declined to say whether she'll run in 2024 since leaving the Democratic Party earlier this month, political consultants are already making plans, with some firms now declining to work with the Arizona Independent, HuffPost revealed Wednesday.

"NGP VAN, which manages Democratic voter data, is set to cut off Sinema's access at the end of January, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation," the outlet reported, noting that the development is "likely to be a headache for Sinema, since it will make it more difficult to target voters for digital advertising, mailers, and door-knocking."

Though a spokesperson for Bonterra Tech, NGP VAN's parent company, declined to comment, HuffPost pointed out that other companies are making similar moves:

The ad makers who worked with her in 2018, Dixon/Davis Media Group, have split with her campaign. Two other Democratic sources said polling firm Impact Research made the same decision.

Both Dixon/Davis and Impact have the type of pedigree you would expect for firms that work with senators in key races. Dixon/Davis worked on President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, while Impact Research does polling for President Joe Biden. Both firms made the decision before Sinema's recent party switch.

A spokesperson for Sinema did not respond to an email seeking comment.

HuffPost's revelations come after Politico reported within hours of Sinema announcing her departure from the party that the progressive digital firm Authentic has dropped her as a client.

While Authentic declined to comment on that report and Sinema's office did not immediately respond, the firm faced an internal revolt earlier this year over its work for the senator.

According to internal union messages reviewed by Politico, Authentic employees said things like, "I am doing the devil's work," and "I feel sick about it tbh," shorthand for "to be honest."

Those messages, made public in February, reportedly stemmed from frustration with Sinema blocking federal voting rights legislation. She has faced intense criticism from Democratic lawmakers and voters over the past two years for obstructing various party priorities.

Before Sinema became an Independent, there were mounting calls for a strong candidate to challenge her in the 2024 Democratic primary if she sought reelection. While that will no longer be possible, critics are still pushing to replace her in two years. The two contenders receiving the most attention are Democratic Arizona Congressmen Ruben Gallego and Greg Stanton—who have both criticized Sinema but not officially said whether they are running.

The "Primary Sinema" campaign, a Change for Arizona 2024 PAC project, rebranded as "Replace Sinema" the day after the senator made public that she will finish out her current six-year term as an Independent—though she has claimed that she won't caucus with the GOP and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) agreed to let her retain her committee assignments.

Sacha Haworth, who previously served as Sinema's communications director and is now a senior adviser for the Replace Sinema campaign, suggested Wednesday that others in the campaign field should follow the lead of firms that are reportedly cutting her off.

"Kyrsten Sinema abandoned the Democratic Party because she knew she couldn't win a primary after spending years obstructing popular reforms and alienating her own voters," Haworth said. "She chose to forfeit the Democratic Party infrastructure, so it's only right that no Democratic staffer, consultant, or vendor should work with her."

However, HuffPost reported that Democrats who work with Sinema "privately signaled" that they are waiting on direction from the likes of Schumer and Biden about how to handle her.

"Many D.C. Democrats would prefer to find a way to back Sinema for reelection—from a legislative perspective, it would make their lives far easier if they could rely on her to back Biden's judicial selections and in forthcoming fights over funding and the debt limit—but fear she could be running third in a three-way battle, which would make it difficult to convince either Stanton or Gallego to stay out of the race," according to to the outlet.

Noting that national Democrats will soon have to decide whether to support Sinema in 2024, assuming she runs, NPR's Domenico Montanaro wrote earlier this month:

There's a real danger here for both the party and for Sinema. Backing someone wearing the team jersey could imperil Democrats' chances at retaining the seat. It's very likely her candidacy would pull more from the Democratic nominee and open up a path for a Republican to win with a mere plurality.

But backing Sinema could enrage the Democratic base and also potentially cost them the seat. Without party support, Sinema could find herself in something of a political no man's land. But she's banking on her brand being enough to pull from moderates on both sides.

That's going to be a difficult test, especially since Sinema is widely unpopular.

While polling suggests Sinema isn't popular with Arizona voters, she is backed by some deep-pocketed donors, as More Perfect Union pointed out in a tweet Wednesday.

"Before switching parties, Sinema received a flood of donations from Wall Street and private equity," the outlet noted. "Sinema's PAC just had its biggest fundraising quarter yet, and at least 40% of the money was from private equity and hedge fund figures."

Republished from Common Dreams (Jessica Corbett, staff writer) under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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