I have never been a big fan of Representative Kyrsten Sinema, even when she was in the state legislature. My discomfort with her is that she appears to me to be “all show and no substance.” She is not much of a policy wonk, and has a slim legislative record. Of course, she has always been in the minority, so that is a contributing factor.

And as Jim Nintzel of the Tucson Weekly points out, “Sinema has had a colorful career in politics, starting out as a green in her idealistic youth and growing into the kind of moderate Democrat who votes with the Trump/congressional GOP agenda agenda nearly half the time.

After her election to the House of Representatives, Sinema joined the conservative Democrat Blue Dog Coalition, and more recently the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus with her fellow Arizona congresswoman Martha McSally.

I’m not sure how one evolves from being a Ralph Nader Green Party “lefty” liberal to a conservative Blue Dog Democrat. That seems rather chameleon to me, adopting whatever one’s circumstances dictate in order  to survive politically. That speaks to more ambition than a principled politician. But then, this is Arizona where this can be said just about every politician.

The Arizona Republic reports, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema enters Senate race, hoping to unseat Jeff Flake:

U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is running for the Senate seat held by Jeff Flake, ending months of speculation about her political future and giving Democrats a top-tier fundraiser with experience on Capitol Hill.

In a video announcing her bid,the Arizona Democrat recounts her upbringing in a family that fell from the middle class into homelessness. She made her way to Congress, Sinema says, with hard work and help from “family, church and, sometimes, even the government.”

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“I really feel like I have a duty to serve and give back to this country, which has given so much to me,” she said in an interview with The Arizona Republic. “Working hard is all I know; it’s who I am. I believe I’ll be the hardest worker for Arizonans in the United States Senate.”

Sinema, who has a reputation as an energetic problem-solver not focused on partisanship, said she intends to make her work on behalf of military veterans and in cutting regulatory red tape for businesses the core issues of her campaign.

“Our nation is facing a lot of problems right now, but we can fix these problems if we work together,” Sinema says in the video. “It’s time to put our country ahead of party, ahead of politics. It’s time to stop fighting and look for common ground.”

The announcement echoes her frequent lament that “Washington is broken.” But she also brings a relatively slender list of legislative accomplishments in Congress, where gridlock has dominated since Sinema first won her House seat in 2012.

Flake campaign spokesman Will Allison cast Sinema as too liberal for Arizona.

“From her time working on Ralph Nader’s campaign to the state legislature to Congress, Kyrsten Sinema has always been out-of-touch with Arizona and she’ll do anything to hide her progressive record,” Allison said in a written statement.

This is your typical knee-jerk response to any Democrat running for office, not grounded in reality or facts. This Will Anderson can get a political education from the readers of Blog for Arizona on the difference between a Progressive and liberal Democrat, versus a conservative Blue Fog Democrat.

A seat in Democrats’ sights

Sinema has set her sights on unseating Flake, who is already battling former state Sen. Kelli “Chem Trails” Ward — likely to receive support from Stephen Bannon and his white nationalist campaign funded by billionaire douchebag Robert Mercer — for the Republican nomination and is trailing the GOP challenger in recent polls. But before that, Sinema faces attorney and community activist Deedra Abboud in the race for the Democratic nomination, as well as political unknowns Jim Moss of Globe and Richard Sherzan of Mesa.

Arizona Democrats, who haven’t won a U.S. Senate race since 1988, will have to choose between candidates like Abboud, a novice who embraces progressive policies, and Sinema, who has won three terms in the House [in a district wholly within the state of Maricopa], in part by working with Republicans.

Democrats nationally see Flake’s seat as a key opportunity in an otherwise dreary Senate map for Democrats in 2018.

Sinema is among the top fundraisers in the House, adding new financial pressure to Flake.

One recent poll suggests she could win the Senate seat. Phoenix Republican consulting firm HighGround Public Affairs found Ward leading Flake by 14 percentage points in the GOP primary and Sinema leading Flake by 8 percentage points in a general-election matchup.

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So far this year, Sinema has voted in line with the Trump administration’s known preferences 49 percent of the time, according to the website FiveThirtyEight. By that measure, she is the third-most GOP-friendly Democrat so far this year.

Despite all the national attention Senator Jeff Flake has received for his book (ripping off the title of Barry Goldwater’s seminal work) Conscience of a Conservative — describing  “Donald Trump as a singular threat to democracy, conservatism, and America, and that the Republican Party, after decades of drift, abetted his rise out of a mix of cynicism and cowardice” — he has demonstrated that he is equally cynical and cowardly. Why Jeff Flake’s Conscience of a Conservative Rings Hollow (snippet):

Flake’s Cincinnatus shtick is a clever, if transparent, rhetorical trick. Publishing an attack on one’s own party called Conscience of a Conservative—taken from Barry Goldwater’s seminal manifesto of mid-century conservatism—could seem like grandstanding. This makes dialing up the humility quotient to eleven a necessity. But this tension reflects what is wrong with Flake’s book, which sacrifices an actual philosophy of conservatism for a sentimental and often disingenuous plea to make America decent again.

Flake has voted with the Trump administration 92 percent of the time. Seven of the other 51 Republicans in the Senate have lower marks, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Sinema’s proudest legislative accomplishment to date is passage last year of a measure to require the VA to accommodate veterans needing mental health assistance, even if their work involved classified information that needs special handling. It is named for Daniel Somers, a Phoenix Iraq War veteran who said he killed himself after hitting roadblocks with the VA.

Some Democrats have complained that Sinema has been too eager to support law-enforcement bills that would make life more difficult for immigrants. At the same time, she has been outspoken in her support of “dreamers,” immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

While Sinema has frequently supported the current GOP agenda, she did not vote for the health-care reforms that are arguably the most divisive and high-profile legislation of the Trump era.

Sinema has made reforms for VA hospitals and improved economic opportunities for those with military ties a centerpiece of her time in Congress, though the hospital system remains in a state of upheaval more than three years after The Arizona Republic uncovered widespread problems in Phoenix.

Sinema co-sponsored this year a bill to better connect business startups with investorsby cutting regulatory requirements. That measure is pending in the Senate. A member of the House Financial Services Committee, she is generally supportive of cutting taxes and of the kind of public-private infrastructure plan sketched out by the Trump administration, though she also cites concerns about the government’s growing national debt.

Sinema running for Senate opens up her congressional seat in CD 9. Democratic Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton will soon jump into the congressional race for the seat Sinema is vacating in Congressional District 9, which means his mayoral post will also be up for grabs. Díaz: How Kyrsten Sinema’s Senate bid unravels Phoenix City Hall. On the Republican side in this supposedly competitive district, expect to see a clusterfuck of the usual GOP suspects (retreads) who run every election cycle (e.g., Wendy Rogers).