Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego announces Senate bid, set to challenge Sen. Kyrsten Sinema

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona announced his bid for the Senate Monday, setting up to challenge Democrat-turned-independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2024.

Gallego confirmed his long-anticipated Senate campaign in a three-and-a-half minute video statement, tweeting that "Today, too many Arizonans see their dream slipping away. I’m running for the U.S. Senate to win it back for you!"

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The 43-year-old military veteran first elected to Congress in 2014 has been a vocal critic of Sinema, a long-time political rival, as she's threatened legislative priorities for Democratic leaders, including President Joe Biden.

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The Arizona senator, along with Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, blocked Democrats from changing filibuster rules, preventing passage of voting rights legislation and Biden's Build Back Better legislation that would have expanded a large swath of safety net programs including Medicare.

“I’m better for this job than Kyrsten Sinema because I haven’t forgotten where I came from,” Gallego said. “I think she clearly has forgotten where she came from. Instead of meeting with the people that need help, she meets with the people that are already powerful.”

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., is seen in the U.S. Capitol, July 14, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., is seen in the U.S. Capitol, July 14, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

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Sinema left the Democratic Party last December, announcing she would register as an independent and consequently dampening the Democrats narrow 51-49 control of the Senate. Though she is still caucusing with the Democrats in the Senate, the defection risks the party's hold of Arizona as it approaches a challenging 2024 Senate map.

Gallego now joins Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., on the list of Democrats seeking a Senate seat in 2024. Porter, who represents California's Orange County, launched her Senate campaign to replace longtime California Sen. Dianne Feinstein earlier this month.

Porter, an outspoken progressive lawmaker first elected to Congress in 2018, announced her bid for Senate amid speculation that Feinstein won't seek reelection.

Contributing the Associated Press, Mabinty Quarshie and Ella Lee

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gallego launches Senate bid, set to challenge Kyrsten Sinema in 2024