With just three weeks away from Election Day, early ballots In Arizona have been mailed, and the most recent poll has Kyrsten Sinema running in a dead heat against Martha McSally.
How did Sinema, who sported a consistent lead in the polls, come to find herself tied in a survey conducted by a polling firm of liberals who “woke up on November 9, 2016 wondering what the hell we could do”?
While McSally has been impressive in fighting her way back, the real story might be just how flawed a candidate Sinema has proven herself to be.
Ambitious politicians dream of the day they get to run for office in the favorable conditions Sinema enjoys in 2018. Let’s count just some of the ways this election should be a cakewalk for the tutu-wearing radical-turned centrist:
- Sinema is being propelled by over $20 million in spending, much of it coming from outside Super PACs. And as one of two top target races for national Democrats, her 3rdquarter haul was $7 million. That’s unprecedented in Arizona history.
- Sinema didn’t even have to show up for her primary – unlike McSally who faced a bruising three-way race.
- Sinema is running in the midterm elections of a first-term president of the opposite party – a historically favorable time to run. If you believe national surveys, this could be the best year for Democrats since Watergate!
If Sinema can’t win in this environment, consider her career over. When will she ever again be able to ignore primary opponents and take in millions of dollars without lifting a finger? The answer is never.
At this point, Chuck Schumer and his donor class can only pray that she doesn’t blow this golden opportunity.
To her credit, Sinema has followed some sound campaign strategy. Casting herself as independent is a smart move, even if she’s been a sharp-tongued partisan for most of her career. She has shunned Arizona’s far left gubernatorial candidate David Garcia who in known primarily for asking Arizonans to “just imagine No Wall – No Wall in southern Arizona!”
Sinema’s avoiding Garcia has been quite entertaining, actually. She won’t even step foot into Democratic Party offices without first demanding that all Garcia signs be removed or covered up.
Her ability to disassociate herself from fringe liberals this cycle deserves some recognition. After all, it must require a great deal of discipline given her activist past of protesting with communists and anarchists.
The last few weeks haven’t been good ones for Sinema, however. Her cavorting with the sex traffickers at Backpage.com has been a real vulnerability. The NY Times snagged her exaggerating details of her childhood, through for some strange reason those findings haven’t been highlighted in advertising.
She was caught on tape in 2011 speaking before an organization of out-of-state liberals calling Arizonans “crazy,” pleading with the audience to “stop [their] state from becoming Arizona.” As if that wasn’t insulting enough, she also spoke at the Netroots Nation conference – which its website calls the “largest annual conference for progressives” – and declared that “Arizona is clearly the meth lab of democracy.”
It’s unclear what exactly a meth lab of democracy is. But Sinema volunteered that she’s still “happy to use it (that line) all the time” in describing her home state.
There are three weeks to go. None of the recent revelations have yet made it to the airwaves, which are quite cluttered with attack ads. Maybe none of these recently-exposed gaffes will define her the way “No Walls” has defined Garcia in the governor’s race.
But she’s in trouble – real trouble. And if she can’t win in this environment with all the advantages she’s had, her career seeking elective office in Arizona is over. Sinema may soon have plenty of time on her hands to trash Arizonans, protest the military, or do whatever it is that tickles her fancy.