Replace Sinema

Politico: An Obscure Group Hounded Kyrsten Sinema for Years — and It Worked. Is This a Sign of Things to Come?

Today Politico ran a feature on the Replace Sinema PAC’s important work of holding Kyrsten Sinema accountable. 

Read more from Politico below.

Politico: An Obscure Group Hounded Kyrsten Sinema for Years — and It Worked. Is This a Sign of Things to Come?
Michael Shaffer | March 15, 2024 


For years, Sinema was on the receiving end of a relatively unusual political-money phenomenon in the capital’s politics industry: the single-target PAC, an outfit geared towards creating precisely the outcome that became real when the senator announced her exit. […]

And while most senators don’t draw a focused campaign until their election cycle arrives, Sinema was targeted by the super PAC for half of her six years in the upper chamber. Her exit came after years of negative media stories, local ethics complaints, surprisingly on-target journalistic investigations and other misfortunes that tend to happen to pols who become the target of a well-funded group of professional campaign operatives. […]

The goal, Way to Win President Tory Gavito said, was to expose Sinema in the hopes that she’d either change her ways or that some Democrat would come along to challenge her. After a challenger did come along in the form of Rep. Ruben Gallego, prompting Sinema to declare herself an independent, the organization rebranded itself as Replace Sinema and kept doing basically the same thing.

Because federal rules prohibit naming a PAC for a candidate, the formal name was the much less memorable Change for Arizona 2024 PAC. But all the branding, which includes a thumbs-down logo evoking the much-giffed gesture Sinema made as she voted to maintain the filibuster, is Replace Sinema. Way to Win wound up kicking in another $225,000 later, and the group raised $675,000 from just under 18,000 donors on the liberal ActBlue platform.

In the beginning, the backlash had followed a comparatively familiar script: The one where progressives are mad at a moderate who stymied things like expanded voting rights. […]

What was different in the anti-Sinema campaign was the professional opposition research and messaging to augment in-state activist efforts. Sinema had joined the Senate cultivating a moderate-maverick reputation — one that largely stuck in Washington as she dissented against the Democratic base’s Biden-era agenda. But over the past three-plus years, she’s been the subject of a remarkably long list of sharply negative stories about her luxury spendingprivate-jet flightscostly limo ridesties to donorstreatment of staffsecurity spending, or campaign-funded trips to race in marathons ( and stay at Ritz Carltons afterward.) […]

Of course, political operatives have steered reporters towards dishy stories forever. Digging through Federal Elections Commission filings isn’t rocket science. But at a time when news organizations are shrinking, and when local media has been particularly hard hit, there are fewer and fewer reporters with the time to do that sort of combing, which makes the role of the oppo pro loom larger. […]

By the time of Sinema’s announcement last week, the super PAC had spent over a million dollars — and the senator essentially had no path to victory. […]

This kind of exclusive, explicit oppo campaign is pretty unique as far as I can tell,” John Labombard, a former Sinema communications director who remains close with her, told me. […]

Read the full piece here. 


Paid for by Change for Arizona 2024 PAC