Progressive Democrats hoping to censure U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema over her centrist voting record will have to wait until January.
The Arizona Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus had planned to introduce a resolution at the party’s state committee meeting in Prescott on Saturday to censure Sinema. But the resolution will be tabled due to a wording error.
Party spokesman Matt Grodsky said the resolution states that the Progressive Caucus would be censuring Sinema, rather than the Arizona Democratic Party as a whole. Proposed resolutions must be submitted at least 30 days before a state committee meeting.
As such, Grodsky said the resolution will likely be tabled, and that the Progressive Caucus can bring back the new resolution with the proper wording in January.
In order to censure Sinema, the Progessive Caucus will need a majority of the party’s 800-plus state committeemen to vote for the resolution. The Progressive Caucus has more than 100 members, making it the state committee’s largest caucus.
The proposed resolution takes Sinema to task for several alleged transgressions. It notes that she was the only Democrat in the U.S. Senate who didn’t co-sponsor the Save the Internet Act, which aimed to restore net neutrality rules. She also voted to confirm Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, an oil industry lobbyist.
Dan O’Neal, national field team director and former Arizona state director for Progressive Democrats of America, wasn’t disappointed that the vote won’t happen on Saturday. Progressives still achieved a goal, the said.
“The point is not so much really to censure her. The point is to shake her up and to shake other elected officials and tell them that they need to be accountable about their votes,” O’Neal said.
O’Neal said the group doesn’t expect Sinema to support every progressive proposal or endorse Bernie Sanders for president. But progressives expect her to at least vote in line with the Democratic National Committee’s platform, which he said she’s violated three times.
The resolution notes that the platform states that Democrats should support conservation of public land and water, nominate and appoint regulators who aren’t beholden to the industries they regulate, and crack down on the revolving door between the private sector and the federal government.
The resolution is progressives’ latest salvo against Sinema, who has repeatedly infuriated them since joining the Senate in January.
Progressive Democrats of America members protested Sinema at an Arizona Democratic Party dinner in May, holding signs during her speech that urged her to “vote like a Democrat.” Weeks earlier, a pro-net neutrality nonprofit group put up a billboard slamming her as “corrupt” for being the only Senate Democrat to oppose the Save the Internet Act.
Sinema, a former radical who shifted toward the center through the years, made a name for herself as a moderate in the U.S. House of Representatives. But since winning her Senate seat, she’s become known as one of the most conservative Democrats in Washington, D.C. According to the political analysis website FiveThirtyEight, Sinema votes with President Donald Trump 54.5 percent of the time, more than any Senate Democrat except West Virginia’s Joe Manchin.
While Sinema’s moderate voting record may be anathema to progressives, it’s widely viewed as the key to her success in last year’s Senate race against Republican Martha McSally, when Sinema became the first Democrat to win one of Arizona’s Senate seats since 1988. Democrat Mark Kelly is currently running against McSally, who was appointed to late U.S. Sen. John McCain’s seat, with a similarly centrist message.