Sen Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who recently left the Democratic Party and is facing a daunting path to re-election, again turned heads with her appearance at the State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
Ms Sinema wore a striking yellow dress to the event and was photographed joking with Sen Mitt Romney and standing to applaud a line from President Joe Biden. The speech was Ms Sinema’s first State of the Union since leaving the Democratic Party at the start of the year.
Ms Sinema made headlines in January with her announcement that she was becoming an Independent — a decision that some observers viewed as a concession that she would struggle to win a Democratic primary next year against Rep Ruben Gallego.
Ms Sinema was one of the most conservative Democratic members of the Senate during Mr Biden’s first two years in office when she, along with Sen Joe Manchin of West Virginia, declined to change the filibuster rules and blocked much of the party and president’s agenda.
Ms Sinema first began making headlines when she enthusiastically voted against a $15 minimum wage by giving a thumbs down gesture on the floor of the Senate while wearing a shoulder bag.
Sinema thinks she’s at the Met Gala pic.twitter.com/iFQnJS8LyQ
— Wu-Tang is for the Children (@WUTangKids) February 8, 2023
Ms Sinema’s office protested then that the media and other observers would not comment on the stylistic and clothing choices of a man in her position, an argument that has drawn derision from observers who view her stylistic choices as performance pieces that often contain specific messages.
Republicans have courted Ms Sinema, angling for her to join their party, while Democrats have thus far remained noncommittal on whether they will support Ms Sinema — who has kept her committee assignments with the party — or Mr Gallego in 2024.