Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema told US media on Friday that she plans to leave the Democratic Party and register as an independent.
The Democrats secured a 51-49 majority in the chamber following Raphael Warnock’s victory this week in the Georgia run-off election.
But Sinema’s move would reduce that to 50, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tie-breaker for the Democrats.
“I’ve registered as an Arizona independent. I know some people might be a little bit surprised by this, but actually, I think it makes a lot of sense," Sinema told CNN on Thursday.
“I’ve never fit neatly into any party box. I’ve never really tried. I don’t want to."
In another interview with Politico, she played down the political significance of her move.
“I don’t anticipate that anything will change about the Senate structure," Sinema said.
“I intend to show up to work, do the same work that I always do. I just intend to show up to work as an independent."
Democrats cheered Warnock’s victory on Wednesday in part because it significantly curbed the power of centrist Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who has already blocked several major Biden initiatives.
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