Charles Schumer dodges questions about backing Kyrsten Sinema against a primary challenger in 2024

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer declined Wednesday to endorse for reelection a fellow Democrat who has been a thorn in the side of leadership: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

Mr. Schumer has repeatedly refused to say whether he’ll back the moderate from Arizona in a primary fight when she’ll likely draw a challenge from her left. Ms. Sinema has wielded outsized influence in a 50-50 split Senate and has infuriated progressives who have called for a primary challenge against her in 2024.

Asked about endorsing Ms. Sinema, Mr. Schumer has this to say: “Sen. Sinema has done a good job on a whole lot of different issues.”

Ms. Sinema recently received a glowing commendation from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, for being the “most effective first-term senator I’ve seen in my time in the Senate.”

“She is today what we have too few of in the Democratic Party: a genuine, a moderate and a dealmaker,” Mr. McConnell said during an appearance she made this week at the University of Louisville McConnell Center in Kentucky to promote bipartisanship.

Mr. Schumer, a New York Democrat who has made appearances in the past at the McConnell Center, suggested the praise was overhyped.

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“The bottom line,” he said, “is that Sen. McConnell said I was very effective when I was there as well.”

Ms. Sinema’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Schumer has made similar dodges in the past amid tense intraparty legislative debates over President Biden’s agenda. 

Rep. Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat and frequent Sinema critic, is expected to launch a 2024 primary bid against Ms. Sinema.

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