The Democratic Party in the United States was dealt a massive blow just days after securing majority in the senate. Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema announced on Friday that she will be switching her political affiliation to independent – meaning that the number of Democratic senators will go down to 50. However, she made it clear that she will not be supporting the Republican Party directly.
“I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington. I registered as an Arizona independent,” Sinema wrote in an op-ed for Arizona Central, a local media outlet.
Previously, the Democrats had a 50-50 control of the Senate with vice president Kamala Harris holding the veto power. While Raphael Warnock’s victory in Georgia gave them a definitive majority this year, this decision by Sinema poses a major threat to their standing.
Bernie Sanders and Angus King are also independent senators but they support the Democrats.
Sinema told the Politico in an interview that she did not identify with a fixed ideology and from now on, she will be voting in the Senate depending on her stance in particular situations.
“Like a lot of Arizonans, I have never fit perfectly in either national party,” she said.
Sinema, who is up for re-election in 2024, did not say anything about her plans of running for senate once again but told CNN that she will “continue to do what is right for my state”.
“I’m not worried about folks who may not like my approach, I’m going to continue to do what is right for my state,” she said. “I’m doing something that comports with my values.”