Republicans and Democrats in the swing state of Arizona found themselves on the same team this week following a report that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., had formulated a "path to victory" for a potential independent re-election bid that would involve her swiping enough votes from each of the party's candidates to come out on top.
According to the NBC News report published Monday, Sinema, a former Democrat, and her team have been putting together a campaign strategy to do just that while also pitching donors and potential supporters on her chances of winning the race as an independent.
The report included a two-page document outlining what it said was her 34% favorability rating among Republicans, and that she "will win" a majority of independent voters, "at least a third" of Republican voters, and "a percentage" of Democratic voters if each of the parties nominate "extremists."
"Election year Sinema looks a lot different than the real Sinema," former Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake told Fox News Digital in response to the report.
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Senator Kyrsten Sinema, an independent from Arizona, during an interview on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, May 18, 2023. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Lake, who sources have said is likely to jump into the Senate race next month, added that Sinema is "a rubber stamp for Joe Biden’s disastrous policies which have left Arizona on the brink of destruction. Arizonans will not send someone with a record of voting with Biden almost 100 percent of the time back to the senate. We can’t be fooled that easy."
Rick Gorka, a spokesperson for Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, the only major Republican in the race so far, told Fox that "Sinema and her team are delusional and need to spend more time in the clean air of Arizona than in D.C. if they think she has any pathway to victory."
"The fact is she has been a failure and Arizonans have paid the price…literally. The border is a mess and New York has received more funding to deal with illegal immigration than Arizona. If she runs, she will lose and Sheriff Mark Lamb is the right candidate to retire Sinema next year," Gorka added.
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Hannah Gross, a spokesperson for Democrat front-runner Rep. Ruben Gallego's campaign told Fox, "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."
From left to right: Republican Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff Mark Lamb, Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., and former Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake. (Getty Images)
"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," she said.
The data referenced by Gross refers to polls consistently showing Sinema would lose to both the Democrat and Republican in a hypothetical three-way race, with Gallego coming out on top. However, the polls show a large portion of voters still undecided on who they would support.
One Republican operative in Arizona sought to dispel the notion that Sinema would be able to draw the significant number of GOP voters her team claimed in the report, telling Fox she was "in no way" the moderate she's portrayed herself to be during her time in the Senate as a Democrat, and since leaving the party last December.
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The operative pointed to the high percentage of Sinema's votes in the Senate being in line with President Biden and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., according to various vote tracking sites, as well as her votes to increase the nation's debt limit and her vote against a bill that would have required doctors to save a baby who survived an abortion.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) moves between meetings at the U.S. Capitol on June 01, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
That approach has been echoed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which is focusing on the seat as one of its top targets to flip for the GOP in 2024. However, the organization sees her as a bigger threat to Democrats in the race.
"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. 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," NRSC spokesman Tate Mitchell said in a statement.
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Fox has reached out to Sinema's team for comment.
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