Democrats see the Senate seat held by Arizona Republican Jeff Flake as one of their few opportunities in 2018, and it looks like they'll be pinning their hopes on a centrist Democrat with a track record of reaching across the aisle, the Arizona Republic reports. US Rep. Kyrsten Sinema announced Thursday she will be running for Flake's seat. "I really feel like I have a duty to serve and give back to this country, which has given so much to me," Sinema says. She says her key issues in the campaign will be helping military veterans and easing regulations on businesses. Sinema's entry into the race makes things even harder for Flake, who's facing a tough primary challenge from former senator Kelli Ward. According to the Cook Political Report, a recent poll showed Flake down 27 percentage points to Ward and 7 points in a match up with Sinema.
Flake, who has faced criticism from conservatives for occasionally butting heads with President Trump, is attempting to paint Sinema as too liberal, with a spokesperson calling her "out of touch." It's a plan the National Republican Senatorial Committee is following. “Sinema has more in common with the failed, radical leadership of Nancy Pelosi than she does with Arizonan families," states the NRSC, which accuses Sinema of voting in "lockstep" with Democrats. And while Politico reports Sinema was originally affiliated with the Green Party, accusations of being overly liberal aren't borne out by reality. Sinema didn't vote for Pelosi for House leader, skipped an Arizona rally for Hillary Clinton, and is a frequent cosponsor of Republican bills. She's voted with the Trump administration 49% of the time, making her the third most GOP-friendly Democrat in Congress since the election.