For most of us, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s interior life is a guessing game. Many have asked what she wants — The New Yorker, CNN, The Detroit Metro Times, The Deseret News, Time, Politico, among others — though few have arrived at an answer beyond “to be John McCain.” But there are select individuals who may have more insight. One of them is the Senator’s ex-husband, Blake Dain.
True Sinema heads will know that, long before she helped ensure the erosion of American voting rights, the Arizona representative voted “I do” on taking one man as her lawful husband, and then “irreconcilable differences” on divorcing him. There is very little information on this man other than his name. It is public that he is several years Sinema’s senior, and that he attended Brigham Young University, where the two met in the 1990s. It has also been reported that the two married in 1995, and divorced four years later on the eve of the new millennium.
But information is sparse enough that it’s not entirely unreasonable for this otherwise thorough 2013 profile of the then-U.S. Representative to have described her as having “never been married.” Neither Sinema or Dain were mentioned in the BYU student paper, The Daily Universe, during their undergraduate years (or at least, in the issues available in digital archives). Neither have joined the various BYU alumni networks on platforms like Alumnius.net. The Nexis news database and the benevolent archivists of Newspapers.com turned up just two pieces with his name — an 2016 article from The Arizona Republic, noting that he didn’t return requests for comment; and a 2014 item in DESIGNwire, announcing that a Blake Dain had teamed up with Square Design to help a couple retrofit a 1997 Grumman Olson Step van they found on Craigslist for their mobile sunglasses boutique, SunsTruck.
Dain hasn’t spoken about his ex-wife publicly and he’s kept a low online profile. There is a LinkedIn page under his name, though the owner of it and the associated personal website did not respond to Gawker’s request for comment. But several clues indicate it belongs to the Blake Dain in question. The account has the same name and lists an interest in BYU. It belongs to a production designer; in the ‘90s, Dain described his work on legal forms as “graphic artist.” Records databases show that the Dain formerly linked to Sinema now lives in the Bay Area; so does the proprietor of this account. (In his avatar, this Dain channels the “enduring refinement of a simple tweed newsboy cap” by wearing one. Sinema would approve.)
In attempting to speak with Dain, we obtained a copy of Sinema’s divorce papers, filed in Maricopa County Court in September of 1999, which shed some light on the benign legal detritus left behind by any disintegrated partnership. (Representatives for Sinema did not immediately answer Gawker’s request for comment). Here’s some of it:
- They were married on Oct. 7, 1995 in Portland, Oregon.
- They separated on March 18, 1999.
- Sinema filed to dissolve it, checking a box that read “My marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation (My marriage is over.)”
- They divided up their stuff independently. Sinema wrote: “The respondent and I have already agreed to divide up property and debts and do not require court interference. We have agreed to the terms listed.”
- Of their communal property, Sinema kept the following: Couch ($800), Chair ($700), and Kitchen table and chairs ($400).
- Dain kept these: Chair ($200), Computer desk and chair ($600), Computer and accessories ($3,500), Bed ($400), TV & VCR ($500), Kitchen appliances ($500), and Electric guitar ($300).
- They each kept their own retirement plans. For Sinema, a $600 TSA benefit plan through her job as a school social worker. For Dain, an employer provided 401K, also worth $600.
- They had two cars — Sinema’s 1997 Nissan Maxima SE, worth $12,000 at the time of the divorce. And Dain’s 1988 Toyota pickup, then worth $4,000. Each kept their own.
- They each had accumulated some debt. Sinema owed $18,000 to First USA and BECU.
What does this tell us? Mostly, that Dain had a pretty nice computer set-up, and that, for a time, it was Sinema who lacked a bed frame. The woman is shattering gender stereotypes at every turn. One might hope her familiarity with debt and social-worker salaries might have made her sympathetic to legislation aimed at increasing the federal minimum wage, which has languished at $7.25 since July 24, 2009. It did not, to which we can only say: 👎🏻.