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AZ Progressives See Red Over Sinema Move Blocking Voting-Rights Bills


Friday, January 21, 2022   

A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fighting chance, but some are feeling deserted by a vote Wednesday night from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., against changing the Senate filibuster.

The move blocked an effort by Democrats to pass new voting-rights legislation. Dozens of supporters, including the powerful Emily's List Political Action Committee, said they are reevaluating or outright pulling their support.

Roy Tatem, political director for the group Our Voice Our Vote Arizona, said Sinema has left many of her supporters scratching their heads.

"We feel that she's abandoned those of us who supported her," Tatem stated. "I've had a number of conversations with her directly around some of the specific issues that we were dealing with, and I had no idea that she would just be so distant."

Sinema said while she supports the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, she refuses to modify the filibuster in order to pass them with a simple majority.

Sinema's election to the Senate, along with Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., was hailed as proof conservatives had lost their tight grip on Arizona politics.

Tatem thinks Sinema has alienated many of the people who put her there, including women, and Arizona's Black, Latino and LGBTQ communities.

"In 2018, Kyrsten received over 130,000 African American votes," Tatem recalled. "This is according to the NAACP. And so, we believe that African Americans are completely turned off from her and her position."

Tatem added his group represents a broad spectrum of progressive voters across Arizona, many of whom are now actively searching for a Democratic candidate to run against her in 2024.

"So we don't understand, what is her North Star here?" Tatem questioned. "What is guiding her or advising her to take such a hard position on maintaining the filibuster, when so many of us have articulated the desire to remove it?"

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