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Sinema’s Departure from the Democratic Party Sparks Fundraising Challenges


The departure of Senator Kyrsten Sinema from the Democratic Party has led to a challenging fundraising landscape for her prospective re-election campaign. An analysis of Sinema’s previous donors reveals that they are more loyal to the Democratic Party than to her personally. In contrast, Representative Ruben Gallego, who launched a run for Sinema’s seat, has received significantly more contributions from her 2018 major donors than Sinema herself. Sinema’s decision to distance herself politically has resulted in diminished fundraising support from donors, potentially necessitating a reliance on a diverse coalition of independents, Democrats, and Republicans for both votes and campaign funding.

Credit: Gage Skidmore

Funding Challenges and Gallego’s Advantage

Sinema raised $4.6 million in the first nine months of 2023, less than half of the nearly $10 million raised by Gallego. Although Sinema currently has more than twice as much in her campaign account, her fundraising momentum has slowed, and a considerable portion of her funds were raised before she left the party. In comparison, during the first nine months of her 2018 run, Sinema raised $7.1 million. The analysis of campaign finance data reveals that many donors who supported Sinema’s previous campaign are not eager to contribute again. Gallego has capitalized on this situation, raising $691,000 from Sinema’s major 2018 donors.

Implications for Sinema’s Reelection Prospects

Sinema finds herself in a challenging position as she tries to secure a second term. Her departure from the Democratic Party has led to a weakened donor base, lacking the fervor shown to candidates affiliated with either Republicans or Democrats. Sinema would need to stitch together a coalition of independents, Democrats, and Republicans in order to win both votes and financial support for her campaign. In addition to facing fundraising challenges, Sinema’s decision to hinder major Democratic policy goals in Congress has eroded trust among party members.

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Uncertain Future and Political Implications

At this stage, it is still early in the 2024 election cycle, and candidate fundraising often ramps up significantly during the election year when donors pay closer attention. Furthermore, Sinema has not officially announced whether she will seek reelection, which limits her ability to raise funds. The donors who contribute early typically represent the most engaged part of the electorate. Sinema’s potential candidacy has both Democrats and Republicans grappling with what it could mean for the race. While Sinema’s departure from the Democratic Party makes her a potential draw for Democrats concerned about maintaining control of the Senate, she may also attract independents and moderate Republicans. On the other hand, Republicans fear that Sinema’s presence in the race could harm their chances by splitting the center-right vote.

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Kyrsten Sinema’s departure from the Democratic Party has posed significant challenges to her fundraising efforts. While she still retains a substantial campaign bank account, her fundraising has slowed compared to her previous run for office. The analysis reveals that many donors, including previous supporters, are now directing their contributions towards Ruben Gallego, who has emerged as the de facto Democratic nominee in the Senate race. Sinema’s decision to distance herself politically has undermined her fundraising base, requiring her to rely on a diverse coalition of voters and potentially seek support from super PACs. The outcome of her fundraising hurdles and the implications of her potential candidacy remain uncertain, shaping the landscape of the upcoming Arizona Senate race.

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