Commentary

Kyrsten Sinema is raking in big bucks from donors. Too bad most of them aren’t her voters.

Sen. Krysten Sinema
Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ)Photo: Gage Skidmore

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is persona non grata among Arizona Democrats. She torpedoed President Biden’s domestic agenda for nonsensical reasons, all but ensuring her a primary challenge in 2024. Her approval rating among state Democrats stands at a dismal eight percent, and the state party has censured her for her disloyalty to the president.

Yet Sinema keeps pulling in big bucks from donors. In the last three months of 2021, Sinema raked in an astonishing $1.6 million in fundraising. On the surface, that would seem like good news. The problem for Sinema is that almost all of that money comes from PACs and big donors, most of whom don’t live in Arizona, let alone vote there.

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Indeed, when it comes to raising money from small donors–the kind of people who live in Arizona and turn out at the polls–Sinema came up woefully short. Only about two percent of her haul, or a little less than $34,000, came from that group. By comparison, the Change for Arizona 2024 PAC, the group raising money to unseat Sinema, raised $180,000 from small donors in the same period.

So who gave Sinema money? It’s a Who’s Who of corporate interests fighting against President Biden’s agenda. They include a range of pharmaceutical PACs unhappy with Biden’s plan to lower prescription drug prices. There’s also a bunch of oil companies (the American Petroleum Institute, the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma, the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, and ExxonMobil). Sinema also got a check from a private prison company; Biden had ordered the federal government not to renew contracts with such firms.

Then there are the Republican donors. like Dallas real estate magnate Harlan Crowe, a long-standing GOP mainstay and close friend of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. There’s also Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot, who helped fund Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. (Langone said he felt “betrayed” by Trump in the wake of the January 6 insurrection.)

These are hardly the type of donors that an erstwhile Green Party candidate like Sinema would seem likely to attract.

Apparently, Sinema doesn’t care. She keeps raking the money in.

Sinema should enjoy it while she can. She has no future in politics. Perhaps she’s positioning herself to join the ranks of the lobbyists whose money she happily pockets now. But she’ll never win an election.

Democrats can’t wait to send her packing. Republicans aren’t about to embrace her when they can find one of their own instead. Her career as a senator is over.

The shame is that we have to wait until 2024 for it to be final.

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