Senate Republicans look to split Democrats in Arizona Senate race in new ad

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The Senate Republican campaign arm released a new ad on Monday targeting Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), painting the two as “Democrats” in the Arizona Senate race. 

“In Arizona, voters have a choice: There’s rotten Ruben Gallego. He was a spokesman for a crooked bank that targeted immigrants and abandoned his wife when she was nearly nine months pregnant, then married a D.C. lobbyist,” says the narrator in the 30-second ad, which was first reported by Politico Playbook.  

“Or there’s Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. Sinema voted for President Biden’s agenda 100 percent of the time, backed Biden’s green energy bill even helped pass Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Deadbeat Dad or Liberal Democrat — Arizonans deserve a better choice,” the narrator says.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) noted it’s geo-targeted for Arizona and is a part of a five-figure digital ad campaign. The ad comes as Gallego is running against Republican candidates Kari Lake and Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb for Sinema’s seat. Sinema has not yet said whether she will seek reelection.  

Gallego’s campaign declined to comment to The Hill regarding the ad. The Hill reached out to Sinema’s campaign for comment.

The ad references Gallego’s stint working as the communications director for the concept of a bank that aimed to work with undocumented immigrants who were trying to apply for a mortgage, according to the Arizona Republic. The Arizona Democrat later left the project amid disputes over the direction of the banking idea, and a political consultant who worked with Gallego during their stint on the project noted to the Arizona Republic that they were unaware of broader issues with both the business involved in the project or its head. 

The ad also refers to an announcement both Gallego and now ex-wife Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego made in 2016, announcing their split while Kate Gallego was pregnant.  

The NRSC ad also noted a FiveThirtyEight analysis of Sinema’s voting record as of Jan. 3, which suggests she votes with President Biden 100 percent of the time. However, Sinema has been seen as a thorn in Democrats’ side at times, including her objection to changing the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster rule to advance Democratic priorities like voting rights.  

She’s also been a part of negotiations to pass key legislation, including negotiating a side deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on the Inflation Reduction Act, and the American Rescue Plan.  

But the ad shows how Republicans are looking to cast voters choices as between two “Democrats” — Gallego and Sinema, even though Sinema is an independent — and one major Republican candidate, Lake. The race is key to either party’s chances of taking the Senate majority, and the nonpartisan election handicapper rates the seat as a “toss up.” 

The Senate Democrats’ campaign arm hit back at the ad, with David Bergstein, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, saying in a statement: “What this strategy confirms is that Kari Lake is Senate Republicans’ nightmare candidate, and that she has them terrified about their chances in Arizona.” 

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