In speeches and interviews, Ms. Sinema recalls how she spent three years as a child living in a former gas station “without running water or electricity.” She has highlighted that hardship as a way to distinguish herself from “most people in politics,” as she would be the rare senator with personal experience of being homeless…

In filings from 1985 and 1986 to the judge who handled her parents’ divorce, Ms. Sinema’s mother and stepfather outlined monthly payments they made for an electric bill, phone bill and gas bill while living in the former gas station, which was owned by her stepfather’s parents, according to the records reviewed by The Times. The stepfather’s parents lived in a farmhouse nearby…

Ms. Sinema, in an interview, would not directly address her family’s payments for the electric, phone and gas bills, but talked broadly about her description of homelessness. “Being homeless is when an individual or family are living in a situation that’s not really stable, when you’re living in a place that’s not meant for living in,” she said.

As for why her stepfather listed those payments for power, gas and a phone if they had no electricity, Ms. Sinema paused. “Oh gosh, I don’t have an answer for that,” she said. “That’s not something a little kid would hear about from her parents.”