Arizona House Democrat calls on Biden to drop out of presidential race

Jul 3, 2024, 3:10 PM | Updated: 5:06 pm

PHOENIX — U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva called on Joe Biden to drop out of the presidential race on Wednesday, becoming the second House Democrat to publicly call for Biden to withdraw.

Grijalva told the New York Times that he would continue to support Biden if he remained the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, but added it is time for other choices to be considered.

“If he’s the candidate, I’m going to support him, but I think that this is an opportunity to look elsewhere,” Grijalva said in an interview. “What he needs to do is shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat — and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race.”

Why are Democrats calling on Biden to withdraw from presidential race?

Pressure has mounted on Biden to make a decision about his future since last week’s CNN Presidential Debate, where he stumbled over answers and raised questions about his mental fitness.

Biden vowed Wednesday to remain in the race despite the criticism from some in his party.

“Let me say this as clearly as I possibly can as simply and straightforward as I can: I am running … no one’s pushing me out,” Biden said on a call with staffers from his reelection campaign. “I’m not leaving. I’m in this race to the end and we’re going to win.”

Even so, there have been mounting signs that support for Biden has been rapidly eroding among Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas was the first sitting Democrat in Congress to call for Biden to drop out, doing so on Tuesday.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, a longtime Biden friend and confidant, said he would back a “mini-primary” in the run-up to the Democratic National Convention next month if Biden were to leave the race. Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, floated an idea that appeared to be laying the groundwork for alternatives by delegates during the Democrats’ planned virtual roll call that is scheduled before the more formal party convention, which is set to begin Aug. 19 in Chicago.

“You can actually fashion the process that’s already in place to make it a mini-primary and I would support that,” Clyburn told CNN.

He said that Vice President Kamala Harris, governors and others could join the competition. “It would be fair to everybody. … Because if she were to be the nominee we need to have a running mate. And need a strong running mate.”

Clyburn, a senior lawmaker who is a former member of his party’s House leadership team, said he has not personally seen the president act as he did on the debate stage last week.

“I saw what I saw last Thursday night, and it is concerning,” Clyburn said.

Who is Raúl Grijalva?

Grijalva is Arizona’s longest-serving current member of Congress. He was first elected to the U.S. House in 2002 after beginning his career in public service as a community organizer in Tucson.

His résumé includes 12 years on the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board and 15 years on the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

Grijalva, who is considered the state’s most liberal member of Congress, is running unopposed in the upcoming Democratic primary as he seeks a 12th term.

His district, which spans most of the Arizona-Mexico border and includes sections of Cochise, Maricopa, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma counties, has long been a Democratic stronghold.

Grijalva announced he had been diagnosed with an unspecified form of cancer in April.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona House Democrat calls on Biden to drop out of presidential race