Kyrsten Sinema Says She Will Leave the Democratic Party

Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, whose centrist approach pitted her against parts of President Biden’s agenda and made her the target of Democratic activists, is leaving the Democratic Party and registering as an independent, she announced on Friday in a series of interviews and in an essay in The Arizona Republic.

Ms. Sinema has not said whether she would caucus with the Democrats, as do two other independent senators, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine. She told Politico that she would not caucus with Republicans, and that her ideology and voting habits would not change.

The Democrats had claimed a 51-49 advantage in the Senate this week when Raphael Warnock prevailed in a runoff election in Georgia.

Writing in The Arizona Republic, she said that she had “never fit perfectly in either national party” and that the “loudest, most extreme voices continue to drive each party toward the fringes.”

“When politicians are more focused on denying the opposition party a victory than they are on improving Americans’ lives, the people who lose are everyday Americans,” she wrote. “That’s why I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington.”

Her position as a centrist Democrat made her a key figure in the Senate. She was the last remaining holdout on a climate and tax deal, and her refusal to abandon the filibuster set back the party’s hopes of enacting voting rights protections. Arizona Democrats symbolically censured her after her filibuster vote.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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