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Ruben Gallego says Kyrsten Sinema's view on the filibuster is inconsistent with Arizonans' needs

By Ben Giles
Published: Saturday, January 15, 2022 - 12:21pm
Updated: Saturday, January 15, 2022 - 2:59pm

Ruben Gallego
Jackie Hai/KJZZ
Ruben Gallego in KJZZ's studio in 2018.

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema says her opposition to altering the filibuster, even to pass voting rights bills that could undo restrictive voting laws passed in Republican-controlled states, is consistent with the will of Arizona voters.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, a fellow Arizona Democrat being recruited by a Latino political action committee to primary Sinema in 2024, told CNN the senator is to people “in her little D.C. inner circle,” not Arizonans.

“If she actually came and spoke to Arizonans … in an unscripted way, like at a town hall, they would tell you otherwise,” Gallego said.

“There’s just so many other people that she should be talking to right now that could tell her what position she’s taking is inconsistent with what Arizona needs or wants right now.”

Democrats have been unable to garner Republican support for federal voting legislation, and would need the votes of all 50 Senate Democrats — including Sinema — to bypass the filibuster and pass a bill with a simple majority.

Sinema spokeswoman Hannah Hurley said the senator’s “honest disagreement” about changing Senate rules doesn’t mean she’s not listening to Arizonans who challenge her position on the filibuster.

Kyrsten Sinema
Kaely Monahan/KJZZ
Kyrsten Sinema in KJZZ's studio in 2018.

“[Sinema] consistently meets with and hears from folks across the state, including in recent weeks when she has held numerous in-person and virtual meetings and calls with Arizonans of all backgrounds – from student groups to civil rights leaders – on a variety of issues,” Hurley said in a statement.

Gallego deflected questions about his political ambitions in 2024, but did not rule out a primary challenge of Sinema.

“I’ll keep my ears open, I’ll continue to have my public meetings — something that she should try to do once in a while,” Gallego said. “And then I’ll make a determination after 2022.”