Arizona Sen. Kristen Sinema is leaving the Democratic Party and registering as an independent, she announced on Friday.
"I have never fit perfectly in either national party," Sinema wrote in an Arizona Republic op-ed. "I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington."
The news comes as Democrats have just secured a 51-49 narrow majority with Sen. Raphael Warnock’s Georgia runoff win.
But, Sinema has made clear she doesn’t believe her party switch will change much.
"Becoming an independent won’t change my work in the Senate," Sinema wrote in her op-ed. "My service to Arizona remains the same."
The Senator will not caucus with Republicans and intends to vote the same as she has the past four years in the Senate, she told POLITICO. Plus, she expects to keep her positions on her committees, according to an interview with CNN.
Sinema joins two others in the independent column; Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine.
Throughout the last two years, Sinema and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, another moderate Democrat, have often held up Democrats’ legislation. The White House expressed confidence that they would still be able to work effectively with Sinema.
"We understand that her decision to register as an independent in Arizona does not change the new Democratic majority control of the Senate," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wrote in a statement. "We have every reason to expect that we will continue to work successfully with her."
Sinema is up for reelection in 2024, and the decision may be politically advantageous for her as it’s possible she could lose in a Democratic primary.