Dem AZ Rep. Sinema 'seriously considering' Senate challenge

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Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (Source: sinema.house.gov) Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (Source: sinema.house.gov)
WASHINGTON (AP) -

Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema said Friday she is "seriously considering" a run for the Arizona Senate seat held by Republican Jeff Flake.

The three-term congresswoman says she's heard from many in her state encouraging her to run. Flake narrowly won his first term in 2012 and is among the very few GOP incumbents who might be vulnerable in next year's midterm elections in a Senate map that favors Republicans.

"I've heard from many Arizonans encouraging me to run for the United States Senate. It is something I am seriously considering," Sinema said. "When I make any decisions, Arizonans will be the first to know."

Sinema, 41, earned a reputation as a liberal while serving in the Arizona legislature. But she's sought to cultivate a more moderate profile in the House, joining the Blue Dog Coalition of centrist Democrats. After a relatively narrow win in her first House race in 2012, Sinema has comfortably won re-election and has more than $3 million in campaign cash on hand.

She is the first openly bisexual member of Congress.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Politics]

Flake has been a high-profile critic of President Donald Trump and has written a book, "Conscience of a Conservative," that details his unease about Trump and the Republican Party. A major trump donor, Robert Mercer, has donated $300,000 to a super PAC backing Flake's GOP primary opponent, Kelli Ward.

Flake did not endorse Trump last year and says his party is in denial about Trump and the dysfunction he has brought to the presidency.

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