Does anyone still believe Kyrsten Sinema will run for reelection? Because she won’t.

I’ve known and covered Kyrsten Sinema for 20 years, and if there’s one thing you can say about her, it’s that she won’t intentionally put herself in a situation where she’s bound to lose or be embarrassed. 

And that’s exactly why she won’t run for reelection this year.



March 2 marked the first day for candidates to file the nominating petition signatures needed to appear on the 2024 ballot. On Monday, Ruben Gallego, the Democratic congressman filed his petitions. He boasted about submitting more than 14,000 signatures, well more than double the 6,500 or so he needed to collect.

Meanwhile, Sinema hasn’t even taken the necessary step of filing a statement of interest to seek reelection, something she must do before she can begin collecting those signatures. Oh, and because she left the Democratic Party back in 2022 to avoid a primary contest against Gallego — a move intended to avoid what was sure to be a crushing defeat, given Democrats’ dislike of her — Sinema has to collect some 42,300 signatures by April 1 to advance straight to the November ballot as in independent.

She won’t.

Sinema hasn’t lost an election since her bid for the state legislature as a Green Party member in 2002. Since then, she’s won races for the legislature (four elections, beginning in 2004), Congress (three elections in a toss-up district, beginning in 2012) and the U.S. Senate in 2018.

She is a political creature who knows how to win, and she’s surprised people along the way with many of those electoral victories.

The grim political reality for her is that she has no path to victory in a three-way Senate race this year.

It’s not often that we see someone walk away from a lofty perch like being a U.S. senator without putting up a fight, but that’s what we’ll see with Sinema. The grim political reality for her is that she has no path to victory in a three-way Senate race this year.

Poll after poll after poll after poll has shown her in a distant third place in a hypothetical race against Gallego and Kari Lake, the likely GOP nominee. She tops out at less than 25% in every public poll that’s been released this year. 

Any hope that ditching Democrats in favor of an independent campaign would bolster her bona fides among voters who either aren’t registered with a political party or are center-right Republicans — the group of voters she was most keen to please as a senator — is surely seen as folly now. She was immensely unpopular among Democrats and the broader electorate when she left the Democratic Party, and it seems nothing’s changed.

The day she announced her split from the Democrats back in December 2022, I wrote that she would ultimately not seek reelection.

This move to be an independent strikes me as the first step in the next phase of her public life, not a serious move to win reelection in a hyper partisan political climate where the R or D after a candidate’s name is shorthand for voters who have already made up their minds. Whatever else she is, Sinema is a brilliant tactician and a canny political operator. She knows exactly how difficult a statewide three-way race as an independent will be.

Sinema has a constituency of one, and this is the ultimate selfish move in catering to her belief that she is uniquely qualified to be at the center of American governance. And when the clock runs out on that, she’ll use it to capitalize on the next opportunity.

In the 15 or so months since she became an independent, not a single thing has changed to help her win reelection.

She knows it, and that’s why she hasn’t lifted a finger to even get on the ballot.

The only question now is whether she says anything about her apparent decision not to run between now and the April 1 deadline to qualify for the ballot.

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