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Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who left the Democratic Party last year, says she’s ‘absolutely’ done with parties and won’t join the GOP: ‘You don’t go from one broken party to another’

Kyrsten SinemaSen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File

  • Kyrsten Sinema told CBS News she’s “absolutely” done with political parties and won’t join the GOP.
  • She left the Democratic Party last year and became an Independent before a potential reelection bid.
  • “It’s okay not to agree a hundred percent with another,” the Arizona senator told Margaret Brennan.

Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said she wouldn’t join the Republican Party, noting that she is “absolutely” done with political parties after leaving the Democratic Party.

During a conversation with CBS “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan that aired Sunday, Sinema said both major parties have moved to the extremes in recent years, making it more difficult to achieve bipartisan consensus on a range of critical issues.

“In today’s political climate … as you see every day, there is less tolerance for difference. There was less willingness for individuals to have their own opinions to make their own decisions,” Sinema told Brennan. “And I think that’s something that we have a duty to do, which is to remind everyone you should think for yourself,” she continued. “It’s okay not to agree a hundred percent with another. It is, in fact, important to our democracy that you’re not doing that.”

After she announced her departure from the Democratic Party last December, Sinema remarked on CNN that she didn’t want to be “tethered by the partisanship” that has become commonplace in the nation’s capital.

“Now that you’re an Independent, you’ll never become a Republican?” Brennan asked the first-term senator during the CBS interview.

“No. I mean, I just, I’m laughing because I literally just spent time explaining how broken the two parties are,” Sinema replied. “You don’t go from one broken party to another.”

When Brennan questioned how Sinema could operate in a world structured around two political parties, the senator said she wouldn’t get “stuck” in that system.

Sinema, who won a tough election in 2018 over then-Rep. Martha McSally, has been widely criticized by Democrats over her refusal to nix the legislative filibuster to pass key voting-rights legislation; she has also faced heat among many progressives for what they say is her cozy relationship with wealthy donors.

The senator has not yet decided whether she’ll run for reelection in 2024. But if she does announce her candidacy, it will likely become a fierce three-way race in one of the most hotly-contested presidential swing states.

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Phoenix-area lawmaker, jumped into the Senate race in January and has needled Sinema over what he said is her inattention to working-class Arizonans.

On the GOP side, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb has already jumped into the party primary. However, Republicans could face a crowded field as 2022 gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, 2022 Senate nominee Blake Masters, and 2022 gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson also mull campaigns.

Read the original article on Business Insider