Fri. May 24th, 2024

Ruben Gallego redefines himself as he seeks Senate promotion in Arizona

By 37ci3 Apr9,2024

PHOENIX – Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego said he is a “true progressive voice in Congress.” Fundraising email in 2022.

In 2018, he rallied alongside Senator Bernie Sanders in his homeland, he sneered: “President Trump is going to build a wall. It’s called the progressive wall — it’s my brothers and sisters joining hands to stop Donald Trump.”

When Sanders took the stage, he called Gallego and Rep. Raul Grijalva “two leaders of the progressive movement.”

It’s not a label that Gallego, who rose through the political ranks as a liberal firebrand, embraces now that he’s running for Senate.

“I consider myself an Arizona congressman and I work with everybody,” Gallego told NBC News last week when asked if he was still a “progressive.” Last month, Gallego allowed his membership in the Congressional Progressive Caucus to be suspended after joining in his first term in Congress, claiming the decision was financial.

“The Progressive Caucus has really raised their dues a lot, and it’s coming out of my staff salaries, and so, you know, we have to make decisions,” Gallego said. Tightening again, he continued, “I work for Arizonans. And sometimes it forces me to cross many political spectrums.”

Gallego’s shift in emphasis reflects several realities. He is trying to jump from the congressional district. President Joe Biden won the statewide campaign 3 to 1 in one of the nation’s most closely divided battlegrounds. Mid-Arizona is up for grabs in a Senate campaign that also features pro-Trump Republican Kari Lake in the race to replace Democratic independent Sen. Kyrsten Sineman.

Rep. Ruben Gallego and Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Council Chairwoman Tanya Lewis in Camp Verde, Ariz.
Rep. Ruben Gallego and Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Council Chairwoman Tanya Lewis in Camp Verde, Ariz.Alexander Tabet / NBC News

Gallego’s congressional voting record was Lake’s first line of attack.

“It is more liberal than the AOC. He votes with Biden 100% of the time,” Lake quipped during a rally in Cave Creek in mid-March. A Five Thirty Eight analysis Gallego’s voting record shows that the congressman voted 100% for President Joe Biden in the 117th Congress.

Gallego broke his own record at state.

“I’m proud of my votes because they stood up to what Arizona needs,” Gallego told NBC News at Camp Verde. “Look at the individual votes and you’ll see that there are votes that are good for the state of Arizona,” he added, referring to his votes on the legislation. strengthen technological works and expanding health coverage for veterans.

Lake made a remarkable political transformation of his own. In 2008 In 2008, he donated to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Now he refers to himself “Trump is on the heels.” But Gallego rarely brings up his likely opponent in November without provocation.

Last week, Gallego’s campaign announced it had raised $7.5 million in the first quarter of 2024, and major Democratic groups have already committed more than $23 million in TV airtime to support his general election campaign. In the meantime, Lake’s campaign claims to have raised more than $1 million Thursday at a Mar-A-Lago fundraiser attended by former President Donald Trump. The campaign could be the tightest Senate race in the country.

The way of politics

Gallego, 44, was raised by a single mother in the Chicago suburbs after his father left when the future congressman was in the sixth grade. Gallego, whose parents are Mexican and Colombian, went on to earn a scholarship to Harvard, where he studied international relations while working multiple jobs before joining the Marines and being deployed to Iraq.

Gallego’s experience throughout his political career, which began in his Arizona home in 2010, is reflected in the legislation he advocates for. In the state Legislature, Gallego fought to expand Medicaid for veterans and in-state tuition for ex-servicemen living in the state. After being elected to Congress in 2015, Gallego joined immediately He vowed to fight for the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the American working class.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., on June 9, 2022, at the Capitol.
Rep. Ruben Gallego at the Capitol in 2022.Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call via AP file

A past sign of Gallego’s alignment to the left: The congressman has discussed a Senate run in 2019 as he considers challenging now-Sen. Mark Kelly is running in the Democratic primary for Arizona’s other Senate seat. Grijalva and liberal groups pushed him to challenge Kelly, a former astronaut who at the time lacked political clout, but Gallego ultimately declined to run.

Gallego enjoyed a distinct rise in national attention a few years later when he became a leading outspoken critic of Sinema after he refused to support the party’s initiative to repeal the filibuster to advance voting rights legislation and make abortion rights federal law.

“He hasn’t had a town hall in three years,” Gallego told NBC News at the 2022 voting rights march in Phoenix, days after Sinema announced he would stand by the filibuster on the Senate floor.

“He would hear how worried we are about this country and how we need the Voting Rights Act to protect this country,” Gallego said.

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By 37ci3

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