Breaking News
More () »

Sinema leaves Democratic Party

The Arizona senator is changing her political affiliation to independent.

ARIZONA, USA — Editor's note: The above video aired in Jan. 2022.

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema will no longer be a representative for the Democratic Party, announcing early Friday morning she has registered as an independent.

"I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington and formally registering as an Arizona Independent," Sinema said in a statement to 12News.

She made the announcement in an op-ed Friday morning with AZCentral and an interview with Politico.

Sinema told Politico that she will not caucus with Republicans and said "nothing will change about my values or my behavior." Her independent registration could alter the way the Democrats are able to use their newly-won 51-seat Senate majority.

"We understand that [Sinema's] decision to register as an independent in Arizona does not change the new Democratic majority control of the Senate, and we have every reason to expect that we will continue to work successfully with her," the White House said in a statement.

Elected as a Democrat in 2018, the former liberal activist turned centrist member of Congress made the announcement amid years of inter-party conflict. 

Sinema's opposition to reforming the Senate's filibuster rule led to an Arizona Democratic Party censure. Democrats in Congress have previously called her out for not explaining her opposition to the House's "social infrastructure" proposals and for not doing enough to protect reproductive access.

"Senator Sinema may now be registered as an Independent, but she has shown she answers to corporations and billionaires, not Arizonans," Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Terán said on Friday. "Arizonans also need their voting rights protected and corporations to pay their fair share. Unfortunately in those areas, Senator Sinema has fallen dramatically short leaving Arizonans behind."


The now-former Democrat has previously said her hero is the "straight talker" late Sen. John McCain, but has also received criticism for not talking to constituents, advocacy groups or the media.

 "Senator Sinema’s party registration means nothing if she continues to not listen to her constituents," Terán said.

READ MORE: Kyrsten Sinema styles herself after John McCain. But does she talk the talk?

Sinema was also named one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2022, after she was nominated by Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Here's a look at some of the major votes Sinema pushed for during 2021:

  • Yes - American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
  • Yes - Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
  • Yes - COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act
  • Yes - Impeaching Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors
  • Yes - United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021
  • Yes - Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act

This is a developing story. Tune in to 12News for the latest information.

Arizona politics

Get the latest Arizona political news on our 12News YouTube playlist here.

Before You Leave, Check This Out