Kyrsten Sinema's Ex-Staffer 'Ashamed' To Have Worked for Her

A former Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) staffer has said she was "so ashamed" to have worked for the Democratic U.S. Senator for Arizona, after she voted to oppose changing Senate rules in order to pass voting rights legislation on Wednesday evening.

Voting rights are top of the agenda for many Democrats, in light of former president Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and GOP-run states pushing through a string of bills restricting voting rights.

But Sinema was one of the two Democrats who in the Senate on Wednesday night voted against weakening the filibuster to pass elections and voting reform.

The rule change would have required 51 votes to pass it. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema joined all Republicans in opposing the charge.

The Democrats could not get enough votes to create an exception to the filibuster, the process where one or more lawmakers prolong debate so as to delay or entirely prevent a decision being made.

Erika Andiola, an immigration rights activist based in Phoenix, previously worked as a Congressional staff for Sinema, when the lawmaker was a representative, between 2013 and 2015.

After the crunch vote on Wednesday evening, Andiola tweeted: "I am so ashamed to have worked for @kyrstensinema. I had considered her to be, not only my former boss, but a friend that I could count on. That's all gone. I have no idea what happened, but she's not there anymore. The vote she just took is devastating and dangerous. Period.

Newsweek has contacted Sinema for comment.

Politico reported on Wednesday that top donors also announced that they would cut off funding to Sinema as a result of her opposition to passing voting rights legislation.

"We are terrified about our prospects as a democracy if we do not pass the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis VRA Act," the donors wrote in a 1,400-word letter.

"We appreciate your support of these bills, but they will die without your action on Senate rules. Bipartisanship works only if it is reciprocal. Republicans are gutting our electoral system in state capitals with no federal check on them. This is life and death important to us."

For example, the Black Voters Matter Fund, the Collective PAC, End Citizens United and Let America Vote, League of Conservation Voters, and Latino Victory Fund recently announced they would not support any lawmaker who doesn't "take all necessary measures" to pass voting rights legislation.

Following Wednesday night's Senate defeat for the Democrats, President Joe Biden issued a statement: "I am profoundly disappointed that the Senate has failed to stand up for our democracy. I am disappointed—but I am not deterred. We will continue to advance necessary legislation and push for Senate procedural changes that will protect the fundamental right to vote."

Kyrsten Sinema in DC
US Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, arrives for a meeting between US President Joe Biden and the Senate Democratic Caucus to discuss the passing of legislation to protect the constitutional right to vote and the integrity of elections, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 13, 2022. A former Sinema staffer has said she was “so ashamed” to have worked for Democratic U.S. Senator for Arizona, after she voted to oppose changing Senate rules in order to pass voting rights legislation. Getty/Saul Loeb