In a widely anticipated move, Rep. Gallego announces bid for Sinema’s Arizona Senate seat:

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, a liberal firebrand and prominent Latino lawmaker, announced Monday he’ll challenge [the Prima Donna “Davos” Diva] independent U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2024, becoming the first candidate to jump into the race and setting up a potential three-way contest.

Gallego said he’d fight for normal people struggling to make ends meet and losing faith in politicians. He said he and Sinema both come from “modest to poor means” but have taken different paths in Congress.

“I’m better for this job than Kyrsten Sinema because I haven’t forgotten where I came from,” Gallego told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview. “I think she clearly has forgotten where she came from. Instead of meeting with the people that need help, she meets with the people that are already powerful.”

Gallego, a 43-year-old military veteran first elected to Congress in 2014, had made no secret of his interest in challenging Sinema, a longtime rival in Arizona politics who has been a roadblock and irritant to Democrats during Joe Biden’s presidency. She left the Democratic Party in December, registering as an independentand saying she doesn’t “fit well into a traditional party system.” She has not said whether she plans to run for a second term.

Although no Republican has entered the race, potential contenders include former [MAGAt] gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, former U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters and Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb — all of whom are closely aligned with former [MAGAt] President Donald Trump. [MAGAt-Lite] Karrin Taylor Robson, a housing developer who lost to Lake in last year’s primary, and former Gov. Doug Ducey, [the ice cream man hired by Koch Industries to run their Southwest subsidiary fka the state of Arizona, for eight years] are also possible contenders.

Wait, isn’t the delusional Doug Ducey running for president in 2024? Donald Trump will remind his MAGAt cult every day that Ducey didn’t take his call and certified the “stolen” Arizona vote. He has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning a primary anywhere, including in his home state of Arizona.

A three-way race, coupled with the risk that Sinema and the eventual Democratic nominee will split the vote, would complicate the party’s already uphill battle to maintain control of the Senate in 2024. Democrats will be forced to defend 23 seats, including Sinema’s and two others held by independents, compared with just 10 seats for Republicans.

Actually, the vote splitting will occur among Republicans who support Sinema, and the MAGAt crazy base candidate. Arizona Democrats are almost universally opposed to the the Prima Donna “Davos” Diva Kyrsten Sinema. That’s why she became a party-of-one for her billionaire and lobbyist base. The “conventional wisdom” of the media is often wrong, and turns out to be just the opposite. You only need to look to the elections since 2016 to prove this point.

With tough and expensive races on the horizon, it remains unclear just how firmly the Democratic establishment and major donors will line up against Sinema, who has voted for most Democratic legislation even as she’s stood in the way of major priorities for the White House, congressional leaders and the progressive movement.

“I’m assuming that they will be with us because we are going to run the winning campaign and because at end of the day, if you look at where Arizonans are going to be, they’re going to be with us and not with her,” Gallego told the AP.

A spokeswoman for Sinema, Hannah Hurley, did not immediately comment on Gallego’s announcement. [The “Silent Sinema” act of being the Greta Garbo of the Senate.]

Gallego, an acerbic presence on social media who is quick to take down rivals from both parties, floated the idea of challenging Sinema to raise money last year and has for weeks been publicly assembling a team of advisers, hiring Democratic campaign veterans with experience working on tough swing-state Senate races in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

He announced his campaign with an online video that shows him talking to veterans at an American Legion post in Guadalupe, a Latino and indigenous community just outside Phoenix.

The son of immigrants from Mexico and Colombia, Gallego was raised in Chicago by a single mother, after his father was imprisoned for dealing drugs. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Reserves while he was on an involuntary break from Harvard University. He wrote in a 2021 book, “They Called Us Lucky,” that he was asked to leave Harvard during his sophomore year, when he partied too much, his grades slipped and he broke unspecified rules. He was later allowed to return.

He fought in Iraq in 2005 in a unit that sustained heavy casualties, and he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after returning. He moved to Arizona to join his Harvard girlfriend, who had become active in Democratic politics in the state. The couple married in 2010 and divorced in 2017, a month before their son was born. His ex-wife, Kate Gallego, is now the mayor of Phoenix.

Gallego was elected in 2010 to the state Legislature, where Sinema also served for one of his two terms. In 2014, he won a bitter congressional primary, toppling a dynastic figure in the Phoenix Latino community. He represents an overwhelmingly Democratic district that includes the Black and Latino neighborhoods of south and west Phoenix.

In Congress, he has focused on veterans and military issues.

Sinema has modeled her political approach on the maverick style of the late Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who alienated the grassroots of his party by sometimes crossing the aisle to work with Democrats. She’s become a fierce advocate of bipartisan compromise [her shtick] in an era when extreme partisanship has made it much more difficult.

She has been at the center of many of the biggest congressional deals of Biden’s presidency, from a big, bipartisan infrastructure package to a landmark bill to legally protect same-sex marriages. But she’s also become estranged from many Democrats, who blame her for voting down progressive priorities like a minimum wage hike and watering down others, like Biden’s big social spending initiatives.

Her support for maintaining the filibuster, a Senate rule requiring 60 of 100 votes to pass most legislation, has made her a pariah on the left.

You can begin donating to the Ruben Gallego for Senate campaign beginning today via Act Blue, or at the Ruben Gallego for Arizona website, where you can also volunteer to work for this campaign.

UPDATE: Follow-up messages sent to Gallego supporters following his announcement:

I wanted you to hear it directly from me: I’m going to be challenging Kyrsten Sinema and running for the United States Senate in Arizona.

If that’s all you need to hear, I am asking you to become a Day One, Founding Donor to our historic campaign. The amount of the donation is not nearly as important as the number of people contributing today. Use this link to split a donation between my campaign and The Majority Rules:

Here is the truth:

The rich and the powerful don’t need more advocates in the Senate. It’s the people deciding between groceries and utilities who need help.

For too long, Senator Sinema has used her position of power to help those who already have it all. She has stood in the way of raising the minimum wage, protecting voting rights, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and more.

Now, we can argue about different ways to do the job as a United States Senator, but at the core of it all, if you are more likely to be meeting and helping the powerful than the powerless, you are doing this job wrong.

I am sorry that politicians like Senator Sinema have let you down.

I am going to change that.

But in order to win this race against Senator Sinema and whoever the Republicans nominate, it’s going to take a historic grassroots effort. From day one.

I also received text messages for donations (shows up as “slideshow” notification on my phone – change the tag to Ruben Gallego for Arizona, please!)

On Twitter:

Interview with MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell:

Interview on MSNBC’s The Readout with Joy Reid: