Sinema exit ramps up Arizona Senate race and battle for critical centrist vote

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (I-AZ) decision not to seek reelection to the Senate puts Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), the likely Democratic nominee, and Kari Lake, who is the front-running Republican candidate, on the fast track for a two-way race in Arizona.

Immediately following the news of Sinema’s retirement, Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), the leader of the GOP Senate campaign arm, declared the development would improve Lake’s opportunity to flip the seat. 

Senate Republicans had been nervous about the possibility of a three-way race between Lake, Sinema, and Gallego after polling suggested Sinema could siphon away twice as many Republican voters as Democrats in a state that is 34% Republican, 34% independent, and 30% Democratic, according to Arizona data. Lake is still facing
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