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Kyrsten Sinema’s online re-election campaign is in full swing
Arizona’s Independent Senator hasn’t publicly announced her re-election bid, but several digital moves suggest she’s already running
Publicly and in the press, Kyrsten Sinema is playing coy about whether or not she’s running for re-election. Online, however, her re-election campaign is kicking into gear. Sinema’s campaign has made digital moves signaling its intent to wage a tough battle for re-election.
Most notably, Sinema for Arizona has spent over $100,000 on digital ads in 2023 targeting Arizona voters on Facebook and Instagram. In the last month, her team has outspent their likely Democratic opponent, Ruben Gallego, by a solid margin, as well as the campaigns of incumbent Senators in other contentious states, like Jon Tester, Sherrod Brown, and Tammy Baldwin.
On Facebook, Sinema’s ads overwhelmingly target Arizonans - making her campaign the second highest political advertiser on the platform in the state in the past 90 days, after a climate advocacy group. Her most recent ads have focused on two themes that seem to be poll-tested for a general election audience: (1) fentanyl and border security, and (2) lowering healthcare costs & insulin prices.
In late January, her team created a new Facebook page called “The Arizona Recap” to run “boosted news” ads promoting coverage that is favorable to Sinema. This type of persuasion-focused ad strategy is generally uncommon this early in the cycle.
Sinema’s online campaign presence also made waves in March, when the primary donation page on her website was changed from Democratic processor ActBlue to Anedot, a nonpartisan platform used by some Republicans. Her campaign at the time asserted that they had not been kicked off of the Democratic fundraising platform but did not explain why they chose to make the switch to Anedot - which is regarded by many digital strategists as inferior technology.
The recent spike in ad spending from the Arizona Senator’s campaign seems like a concerted effort to shore up her approval ratings among Arizonans, who view her unfavorably by a wide margin. If her approvals don't increase in the coming weeks, then she still has time to bow out of a competitive campaign and avoid a potentially embarrassing third-place finish next fall.