Trooper Union Pulls Support for Kyrsten Sinema After Outcry From Members


The members of one Arizona law enforcement union pressured the organization to rescind its endorsement of U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake.

According to the Arizona Republic, the Arizona State Troopers Association initially backed the Democrat but pulled the public nod after an internal poll of its membership.

In an email sent Monday, the union confirmed that its poll “indicated a preference to stay neutral” in Sinema’s close race against Republican rival Martha McSally.

Some members complained to the Republic that the union board opted to endorse Sinema without consulting with them. The association had backed her in three previous federal elections.

She has referenced the endorsement on the campaign trail, but a press release that had been posted to her campaign website was apparently removed as of this writing.

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A previous campaign ad mentioning the endorsement is no longer airing, but the campaign said that decision had been made prior to and separate from the union’s decision to rescind.

Earlier in the election season, Sinema released an ad with her brother, Tucson police officer Paul Sheldon.

Do you agree with the union's decision?

“She fights for us veterans and is a friend to law enforcement,” he said in support of his sister.

In a statement to the Republic, the Sinema campaign addressed the union’s decision.

“We respect the association’s decision to remain neutral given the divisive tone of the race and appreciate their support for Kyrsten’s past three elections, as well as continued support from members and law enforcement officers across the state,” wrote Helen Hare, a spokeswoman for the candidate.

The union made it clear in its announcement to members that they “are encouraged to vote for the candidate they personally support.”

In response to the polling, the email explained, “AZTroopers will refrain from any political statements concerning the race until the conclusion of the election.”

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A spokeswoman for McSally responded to local reporters with a short message, the Republic added.

“The Troopers have spoken,” Torunn Sinclair texted.

One retired Arizona Department of Public Safety lieutenant expressed concern about the union endorsing anyone

Dave McDowell said he supports the Republican in the race but believes the association, which is technically independent from the DPS, could improperly influence troopers by weighing in on political races.

“This displeased a number of members, including myself,” he said of the Sinema endorsement.

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
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