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Dem Leadership Picks Challenger to Jeff Flake in Arizona

Chuck Schumer called Arizona Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema and told her he’d back her if she decides to run for Senate in 2018.

Kyrsten Sinema

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has made a decision about which Democrat he wants running for Senate in Arizona next year. According to a report from The Hill, Schumer phoned Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) during August recess to affirm his support, should she decide to run.

Schumer went a step further and also called Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to tell him he was backing Sinema, who has yet to announce any plans for the 2018 midterms.

The phone calls are the clearest sign yet that Sinema, 41, a centrist Democrat serving her third term in the House, is gearing up for a Senate run in the Grand Canyon State.

An announcement is expected any day.

Arizona’s incumbent senator, Jeff Flake (R-AZ), is facing a primary challenge from fringe candidate Kelli Ward, a state senator with a penchant for inappropriate and offensive politicking. President Trump, who is no fan of Flake, tweeted words of encouragement to Ward, but later backed away from the controversial candidate.

Sinema, should she decide to run, would likely attempt to do so as a centrist candidate. Arizona is a conservative state, and Sinema has the benefit of having voted against Nancy Pelosi for speaker.

But that strategy has not proven to be an effective one in Arizona. Last cycle, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) trounced former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), who ran a similar “centrist” style campaign, 54 – 41 percent.