Kumar said in announcing the campaign on Rachel Maddow’s show Monday night that the organization “did not make this decision lightly. We had conference calls and we spoke to individuals, we engaged and we engage with Senator Sinema. We are very clear on the day of the vote what we needed her to do.” But as all know, she (along with West Virginia’s Joe Manchin) joined all Senate Republicans to kill critical voting legislation named after a civil rights icon she’s dared call her “hero.”
Kumar said Sinema “did not take seriously this idea that voting is the essence as the president said it`s the threshold of democracy, where millions of Arizonans and Latinos will be disenfranchised, millions of Americans across the country if we do not have fair, free elections at the federal level where everybody, regardless of party, are just playing by the same rules.”
Maddow cited a recent poll of Arizona Democrats finding that 72% of respondents “would prefer that there was a different candidate for her seat than her next time around. Another poll found at the best-case scenario for her it would be a very crowded primary for her seat, in a very crowded primary, she would still lose the primary by four points.” Rep. Ruben Gallego, a U.S. military veteran who represents the state’s 7th district, said some of Sinema’s colleagues in the Senate have in fact urged him to challenge her.
“To be honest, I have gotten a lot of encouragement from elected officials, from senators, from unions, from your traditional Democratic groups, big donors,” Gallego recently told CNN. “Everything you can imagine under the sun.” He told the outlet that he’ll make a decision on whether to primary Sinema next year.
Latino and Indigenous activists and voters were critical in sending Mark Kelly to the Senate last November. They also delivered the state to President Biden, who became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state in more than two decades. “In Arizona, 30% of the electoral base is Latino,” Kumar said. “By the time that Senator Sinema [gets] on the ballot, we`re going to have 162,000 newly minted eligible voters that have just turned 18 within the last four years.”
Voto Latino is the first major Latino organization to challenge Sinema following her betrayal to Arizonans. She’s also lost support from EMILY’s List and NARAL. “We believe the decision by Sen. Sinema is not only a blow to voting rights and our electoral system but also to the work of all of the partners who supported her victory and her constituents who tried to communicate the importance of this bill,” said EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler.
”We have to remind folks that it wasn`t just the filibuster,” Kumar continued. “If we cannot access the voting booth, everything else that Arizonans say that they care about, whether it`s the environment because they don`t have—they don`t have water, whether it’s access to health care, whether it’s access to minimum wage, none of that is possible because there`s an obstructionist government right now that`s being held by the minority party and is being espoused by the minority of Americans, not the majority of Americans.”