Ruben Gallego is endorsed by Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, his ex-wife, in bid for Arizona Senate seat

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FILE - U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., and his ex-wife, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, tour an affordable housing development in Phoenix along with their 6-year-old son, Michael Gallego, on March 19, 2023. Kate Gallego on Monday endorsed Ruben Gallego's U.S. Senate run, helping him blunt a potential liability after the couple divorced weeks before their child was born. (AP Photo/Jonathan J. Cooper, file)

PHOENIX – Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego on Monday endorsed her ex-husband, U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, in his campaign to move up to the Senate.

The mayor's decision to publicly back her former husband, while not surprising, will help him blunt criticism for their divorce, which occurred weeks before the birth of their child.

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Gallego is the only major Democrat in a race that will help determine control of the U.S. Senate. Incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a former Democrat who left the party a year ago, has not said whether she will seek a second term as an independent.

Ruben and Kate Gallego are both Democrats who met as undergraduates at Harvard University. Kate, a New Mexico native, moved to Phoenix for a job on John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign in Arizona. Ruben, originally from Chicago, joined her after finishing a deployment to Iraq as a U.S. Marine.

They were a power couple in local Democratic politics. A popular Phoenix bar even had a cocktail called “The Ruben and Kate." (After their divorce, the menu was changed and each Gallego was given their own cocktail, The Ruben and The Kate.)

Kari Lake, the likely Republican nominee in the race, has repeatedly attacked Ruben Gallego over the timing of his breakup.

“Arizona women, @RubenGallego abandoned his wife when she was nine-months pregnant with his first child,” she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, last week in response to Gallego criticizing her stance on abortion.

They share custody of their 6-year-old son, Michael, who routinely accompanies one or both of his parents to campaign stops and official events.

“I’m proud to endorse Ruben because I know first-hand his commitment to building a brighter future for Arizona," Kate Gallego said in a statement. As mayor of Phoenix, she leads the fifth-largest city in the United States, a fast-growing metropolis hit hard by rising temperatures and housing costs.

Ruben and Kate Gallego have said little publicly about their decision to split up in 2016, which both have said was a “private matter.” Ruben Gallego remarried in 2021.

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