Arizona Capitol

Kyrsten Sinema: "I Didn't Mistakenly Vote for [email protected]#%!"

Kyrsten Sinema's pissed when she calls us back last night.

"I didn't mistakenly vote for shit!" she fumes. "They explained what we were voting on wrong."

The Democratic state senator's ire isn't directed at us, but rather at her Republican colleagues at the state Capitol -- and also at Arizona Daily Star reporter Andrea Kelly, who wrote a blog post yesterday accusing Sinema and another Dem, Olivia Cajero Beford, of voting to ask the federal government for a waiver that would removed 280,000 people from Medicaid.

She was especially ticked at how Kelly mentioned high in her article that Sinema has been a lawmaker since 2005, and that Cajero Bedford has been one since 2003.

"The way they wrote it, it's as if we're too stupid to vote on bills," she says.

Not that Kelly got her facts wrong, mind you.


Sinema admits she thought she was voting on an amendment to the bill yesterday that merely fixed a typo during a Senate Rules Committee hearing. The committee's vote was unanimous. But senators Russell Pearce and Scott Bundgaard, the committee's chairman and vice-chairman, "put the amendment and the eligibility vote together as one vote," she says.

The vote in the Rules Commitee was preceded yesterday by the successful passage of the bill in both the Senate and House. Sinema, who's stated publicly that she thinks it's unconstitutional, took the opportunity to correct her earlier mistake and voted "no."

The governor's expected to sign the bill this morning.

"I'm actually really upset. They're cheating," she says about the faux pas in Rules. "The lesson learned is quite simply this: Don't believe them."

She softens her tone after venting, confessing that she doesn't think Pearce deceived her intentionally. He "came over and apologized" afterward, she says. The Senate hadn't had a "real" Rules Committee session so far this year, and the rules of rules hadn't been fully explained, he told her.

Sinema's a former state representative who's new to the Senate -- same as Bedford. It's a forgiveable mistake. And with a few more weeks of practice, we predict that these Dems will be casting their "no" votes on GOP bills like champs.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.