Sinema’s Fundraising Trails Gallego in Reelection Campaign She Has Yet to Announce

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 29: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) listens during a news conference in the U.S. Capitol Building following a vote to pass the Respect For Marriage Act on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

By Camaron Stevenson

July 28, 2023

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is raising money for a reelection race that she hasn’t yet said she’ll enter.

Sinema raised $1.6 million in the last quarter—that’s half as much as Rep. Ruben Gallego, who raised $3.1 million in the same quarter for his campaign to take Sinema’s seat in the US Senate.

Gallego’s campaign has spent more than $2 million in each of the first two quarters, while Sinema’s campaign has spent less than $1 million—even though she hasn’t yet announced she’s running for reelection yet.

Use of Campaign Funds Under Scrutiny

But Sinema’s fundraising numbers don’t provide any indication about her intention to run. She could use the money to run for another office, or spend it on more extravagant trips, of which she’s already spent nearly $200,000 of campaign funds on. This includes spending $36,000 on hotels, $20,000 on wine, $45,000 on chauffeured rides, and $70,000 on airfare.

And that’s all in one year.

Gallego’s campaign manager says they have a strong foundation of grassroots support, while Sinema’s spokesperson says she’s focused on solving challenges facing everyday Arizonans, not campaign politics.

RELATED: Rep. Gallego Announces Bid for Sinema’s Arizona Senate Seat

If Sinema runs, the sources of her money will be scrutinized because of her longstanding relationships on Wall Street, which have infuriated many Democrats who say she protects powerful interests.

In the latest fundraising period, more than a quarter of her money came from people who work for three private equity firms, which benefited from Sinema’s move to singlehandedly thwart her party’s longtime goal of raising taxes on wealthy investors.

Less than $6,000 was from small donors who gave less than $200.

Big-Money Donors versus Grassroots Fundraising

More than half of Sinema’s first-quarter donors gave the $3,300 maximum for the election, Gallego spokesperson Rebecca Katz noted in a state-of-the-race memo on Monday. That means Sinema cannot tap those donors for additional money going forward.

“Her big-money donors may be able to keep her afloat for now, but in the long run, Sinema’s fundraising strategy is unsustainable,” Katz wrote.

If Sinema does get in the race, it could set up a three-way race next fall. But it’s not clear who the Republican nominee will be.

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb is the only Republican who’s announced he’s running, but rumors that failed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake might enter the Republican primary continue to circulate.

Lamb has not yet had to report fundraising data.

CONTINUE READING: Sinema Dead Last in Three-Way Race With Gallego and Lake, Poll Shows

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author

  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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