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Key Democrats endorse Gallego after Sinema retirement

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(The Center Square) – U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., now has the backing on Gov. Katie Hobbs and U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly in his bid for U.S. Senate.

The endorsements come after Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema announced last week she’s retiring at the end of the year and not seeking re-election. If she decided to run, it would have set up an unusual three-way race between two major parties and an incumbent. Sinema left the Democratic Party in December 2022.

On Monday morning, Hobbs said she’s backing Gallego, a fellow Democrat, in a news release from his campaign.

“Congressman Gallego’s commitment to fighting for Arizona will make him an excellent senator for our state. I’m proud to support my former colleague and my friend in this race, and I know he has what it takes to defeat chaos’s ringleader once again,” Hobbs said in a statement. “Come January, I look forward to working with Rep. Gallego in the U.S. Senate to deliver results for Arizona.”

Gallego is expected to challenge Republican Kari Lake in the general election, who was Hobbs’ opponent in the 2022 gubernatorial race.

The day after Sinema’s announcement, Kelly threw his endorsement behind Gallego as well.

“I’ve known Ruben for years and he’s the type of leader who can bring people together in the Senate to solve real problems, like creating good-paying jobs for Arizonans and supporting veterans. Kari Lake can’t do that,” Kelly said in a statement. She uses politics to divide people and is more focused on denying the results of elections years in the past than she is on real challenges facing Arizonans today, like the freedom for Arizona women to make their own decisions about abortion.”

Hobbs and Kelly are two of the highest-ranking Democrats in the state, which put them in a tough position if they were to make an endorsement of Gallego or Sinema before she made her choice.

As for Lake, she’s been touting her own endorsements from Republican senators in hopes of unifying the party ahead of November. NBC News reported last week that Lake held a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., with over 20 senators with a wide ideological range, including Sens. John Cornyn, Rand Paul and Tommy Tuberville.

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