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Sinema's Window Of Influence May Close In 2022

With the U.S. Senate evenly divided, Kyrsten Sinema’s status as a moderate has given her a great deal of influence in Washington, D.C.

Sinema has President Biden’s ear on the ongoing effort to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill. Senators unveiled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Sunday.

Being part of the Democrats’ razor-thin Senate majority has made Sinema a gatekeeper for passing Biden’s other priorities.

Although Sinema won’t face voters again until 2024, midterm elections are next year, and Tempe pollster Mike O’Neil said her clout could be gone in 16 months.

“If the Republicans pick up a seat, I think she’ll become irrelevant. If the Democrats pick up a couple of seats, they will not need her. So her pivotal role is sort of contingent on 50/50,” O’Neil said.  

Recent polling shows roughly a third of Arizona Republicans see Sinema in a favorable light, while about 40% of Democrats view her unfavorably.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to an editing error, this story has been modified to correct the day the senators unveiled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.