Despite there being no constitutional ground to do so, irate voters are calling for Arizona to trigger a recall election to remove Senator Kyrsten Sinema from office after she announced she is quitting the Democratic Party to register as an independent.
Sinema, who, as things stand, would next have to seek re-election to the Senate in 2024, confirmed she will be switching her allegiances in an opinion piece for Arizona Central, as well as videos on social media.
“Americans are told that we have only two choices—Democrat or Republican—and that we must subscribe wholesale to policy views the parties hold, views that have been pulled further and further toward the extremes,” she wrote. “Most Arizonans believe this is a false choice, and when I ran for the U.S. House and the Senate, I promised Arizonans something different.”
Sinema added in a video that she wanted to remove herself from the “broken partisan system” in Washington D.C. and becoming an independent is a “reflection of who I’ve always been, and it’s a reflection of who Arizona is.”
Following her announcement, a number of social media users are calling for Sinema to face a recall election over complaints she is letting down her Democratic voters.
Phoenix resident Dustin Johnson tweeted: “Recall Kyrsten Sinema NOW! Arizonans are sick of her BS antics and she needs to be removed asap.”
Fellow Twitter user Casey Lewis added: “This should be grounds for immediate recall. Sinema was elected to serve as a Democrat, not to suddenly switch affiliation whining about ‘me, me, me.’”
A number of social media users made similar calls while tweeting the #RecallSinema hashtag.
While Arizona is one of 19 states that allows for the recall of state and local officials, members of the House of Representatives or Senate can only be removed from their offices early by way of expulsion, something which has only happened 20 times in U.S. history.
The last lawmaker to be removed from office was Ohio congressman James A. Traficant in 2002 after being convicted on corruption charges. Traficant became only the second House member to be expelled from Congress since the Civil War.
Another way in which Sinema could have been removed from office was if she had lost a Democratic primary, which some progressive groups had been calling for.
Sinema, along with fellow moderate Senator Joe Manchin, have frequently used their Senate votes to hinder a number of President Joe Biden’s initiatives.
Sinema infamously outraged progressives and others on the Left by dramatically making a thumbs-down gesture while voting against a minimum wage increase amendment to Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.
In a statement following confirmation she is leaving the Democratic Party, the Change for Arizona 2024 PAC, one of the groups leading the “Primary Sinema” campaign, said: “Today, Kyrsten Sinema told us what we’ve already known for years: she’s not a Democrat, and she’s simply out for herself.
“For the last year, we’ve been laying the groundwork to defeat Kyrsten Sinema because Arizonans deserve a Senator who cares about them, and not special interests.
“In one way, Sinema just made our jobs easier by bowing out of a Democratic primary she knew she couldn’t win. Now, we’ll beat her in the general election with a real Democrat.”
Sinema’s announcement came just days after it was confirmed the Democrats would have a 51-49 majority in the Senate following Raphael Warnock’s runoff victory over Herschel Walker in Georgia.
In an interview with Politico, Sinema said she doesn’t anticipate “anything will change about the Senate structure,” in January when she will be an independent.
“I intend to show up to work, do the same work that I always do. I just intend to show up to work as an independent,” she said.
The Democrats already have two independents in the Senate who caucus with them: Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine.