Kyrsten Sinema pitches donors on a ‘path to victory’ in Arizona by courting Republicans

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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Democrat-turned-independent, hasn’t publicly announced whether she’s running for re-election next year. But privately, her political team has been mapping out a campaign strategy, pitching donors and potential supporters on how she can win the marquee Senate race.

In a two-page prospectus obtained by NBC News, Sinema charts out a path to victory as an independent candidate in Arizona, with a glimpse of her possible campaign message and new details about the unique cross-party coalition she would seek to build in the competitive state.

Under the banner “Kyrsten’s Path to Victory,” the document says Sinema can win by attracting 10% to 20% of Democrats, 60% to 70% of independents and 25% to 35% of Republicans.

Alongside a headshot of her and a section titled “Kyrsten Will Win Arizona,” the document says: “If the parties nominate extremists, as expected, Kyrsten will win a majority of IND, at least a third of REP and a percentage of DEM voters — making her the first Independent to win a three-way statewide race in American history.” A source shared the document, which has circulated among Arizona political operatives in recent days.

The two-page pitch shows that even as Sinema’s team insists she isn’t focused on electoral politics, she is actively laying the groundwork for a potential independent candidacy, a wild card in a key swing state that will shape the battle for control of the Senate next year.

Notably, the document suggests Sinema will attract more votes from Arizona Republicans than Democrats, despite having been a Democrat for a decade in Congress and continuing to get her committee assignments through the Democratic Senate majority. (She officially quit the party in December, when she changed her registration to independent, after her centrist positions and rejection of some liberal priorities caused irreparable fissures with many Democrats.)

Asked about the prospectus, a spokesperson said that “Kyrsten has not announced or decided one way or another” whether she’ll run for re-election but added that she has “been actively fundraising” and has “well over $10 million cash on hand.” The prospectus is consistent with that, the spokesperson said, declining to comment further on the document or her intentions.

The document, which includes a link to Sinema’s political website, reads, “Paid for by Sinema for Arizona.”

Sinema says she will build a unique coalition

Under a section titled “Kyrsten Delivers for Arizona,” the prospectus credits Sinema with legislative achievements like the bipartisan infrastructure law, postal reform, codification of same-sex marriage and a gun law that Congress passed last year.

It touts lower drug prices under the Inflation Reduction Act, a law that Sinema cast a decisive vote for last year after she compelled Democrats to pare a provision to empower Medicare to negotiate drug prices, to the chagrin of the White House and some activists who wanted it to be more aggressive.

She is eying a coalition unseen in modern American politics, with substantial support from voters in both parties and a dominant showing among independents. It’s far from clear she can achieve the ambitious targets in the prospectus. The Senate has two other independents — Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine — but both clearly align with Democrats and have strong support in the party. Sinema, by contrast, has stopped attending regular Senate Democratic meetings and has cut ties with the Arizona Democratic Party.

Polling in the race is sparse, with the field still taking shape. Recent surveys by Emerson College and Noble Predictive Insights show Sinema trailing in various potential three-way races. The Emerson poll found her pulling more support from a Republican candidate than from a Democrat.

Democrats have a clear front-runner in Rep. Ruben Gallego, who represents a Phoenix-based district in the House and has worked to consolidate his party’s support.

“Only one person is traveling the state and talking directly to Arizonans about creating good paying jobs, cutting the cost of prescription drugs, and taking care of our veterans, and that’s Ruben Gallego,” Gallego campaign spokesperson Hannah Goss said in a texted statement when she was asked about Sinema’s pitch to donors. “He’s laser focused on fighting for everyday Arizonans — and that’s why he’s going to win this race, just as the data suggests.”

The Republican field is still taking shape, with Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb having announced his candidacy and Kari Lake, who lost her bid for governor last year, considering jumping in, as well. National Republicans hope a Sinema candidacy would end up drawing more votes from her former party.

“Kyrsten Sinema has been a stalwart advocate for Joe Biden’s agenda by supporting his American Rescue Plan and his signature climate change bill, the Inflation Reduction Act,” Tate Mitchell, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement. “If Sinema runs, we expect Arizona Democrats to support her in droves because of this unwavering commitment to Joe Biden’s most important policy priorities.”

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