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Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema told Politico she's not switching parties anytime soon.
Sinema has close relationships with the GOP and is often a thorn in the side of her own party.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune said he's tried to recruit her to join the GOP several times.
Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who is known for fostering relationships across the aisle and frequently rankling members of her own party with her moderate policy positions, isn't switching parties anytime soon.
"No. Why would I do that?" Sinema said during a rare sit-down interview with Politico when asked if she would consider defecting to the GOP.
Sinema led the charge in the Senate, along with retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, to negotiate and draft the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that received 69 votes in the Senate, passed the House in November, and was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Monday.
Sinema and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin have also played a key role in paring down the size of Biden's $1.75 trillion social spending package, expressing opposition to the bill's initial $3.5 trillion price tag and Democrats' proposed tax hikes on corporations.
The Arizona Democrat, who is frequently seen chatting with Republicans on the Senate floor, told Politico that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has an "underrated" sense of humor. She added, however, that her close relationships with GOP colleagues are not for political gain.
"I'm a human who has friends," Sinema told Politico.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune told Politico that he's tried on multiple occasions to get Sinema to switch parties, which would give the GOP a majority in the currently evenly-divided Senate, but she's sticking with the Democrats — no matter how publicly and privately annoyed they may get with her.
Meanwhile, top GOP Sen. John Cornyn, a contender to replace McConnell as Senate GOP leader, told Politico he "would be surprised" if Republicans mounted a serious challenge to Sinema when she's up for reelection in 2024.
"I've been concerned at the push that happens in both parties, this push to have no disagreements. To only have unity or to only speak with one voice. And some will say, 'Oh, that is our strength,'" Sinema told Politico. "Having some disagreement is normal. It is real, it is human. And it's an opportunity for us as mature beings to work through it."
In her conversation with Politico, Sinema also touted the work of the Congressional Black Caucus and members of the House GOP caucus who passed the infrastructure bill. "The 13 Republicans who voted yes on that bill in the House, and many of whom are now receiving death threats, they deserve a much greater share of thanks than they received," she said.
Read the original article on Business Insider