WASHINGTON — The Senate Republican campaign arm is targeting centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., in a new attack ad launched Monday as she continues to mull a 2024 re-election bid.
The spot calls Sinema a “liberal Democrat” and links her to President Joe Biden, a sign that the GOP remains nervous that the Democrat-turned-independent could win more votes from Arizona Republicans than Democrats if she runs for office. second term.
“Sinema voted for President Biden’s agenda 100% of the time, supported Biden’s green energy bill, and even helped pass Biden’s American Rescue Plan,” a narrator said.
It’s a five-figure digital ad buy that will take place in Arizona, a spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee said.
The ad signals the GOP’s upcoming strategy to try to weaken Sinema with Arizona Republicans ahead of the key Senate contest, as she continues to avoid questions about whether she will run. Sinema enjoys warm relationships with many Republican senators and has been praised by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as “the most effective first-term senator that I have seen during my tenure in the Senate.”
Sinema, elected as a Democrat to the Senate in 2018, left the party last December. Although Sinema votes in line with Biden 94% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight, this statistic obscures how much of an obstacle she has been for the president, as she has managed to quietly kill some of his priorities and prevent them from coming to fruition. a vote. She also forced Democrats to scale back the Inflation Reduction Act by opposing a corporate tax increase and insisting on maintaining the carried interest tax break. And she voted to protect the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, alongside Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., leading Republicans to filibuster a sweeping voting rights bill. She also opposed some of Biden’s staff choices.
NRSC ad claims Arizonans “deserve a better senator” than Sinema and Democratic nomination frontrunner Rep. Ruben Gallego, whom the narrator calls “rotten” while noting his divorce from his ex-wife in 2017, with whom he has a son and remarried in 2021.
Gallego’s campaign responded in a fundraising email, accusing the NRSC of launching a “baseless and deeply personal attack ad against Ruben,” and calling it a “dangerous moment” for the campaign if Democrats allow Lake to “get the advantage over us”, before asking for a donation.
A spokesperson for Sinema had no comment on the announcement.
A recent NRSC poll of a three-way race in Arizona found Gallego leading with 41%, ahead of Republican candidate and former gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who had 37%, and Sinema with 17% in a third distant. The survey found that Sinema draws more votes from Lake — an election denier supported by Donald Trump — than from Gallego if she is in the mix.
NRSC Chairman Steve Daines, R-Mont., told NBC News in a recent interview that it was a “poll with a margin of error” but argued that it clearly shows that Sinema is not can’t win in Arizona as an independent.
“It just shows that there is a tough road ahead for an independent to win the election. … An independent track in Arizona consistently has a voting rate below 20 percent,” Daines said. “There is no way to win. »
David Bergstein, communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said the new ad shows the Republican Party is spooked by Lake’s prospects.
“What this strategy confirms is that Kari Lake is the Republicans’ nightmare candidate for Senate and terrifies them about their chances in Arizona,” Bergstein said.
Sahil Kapur is a senior national political reporter for NBC News.
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