Second Democrat in Congress calls for Biden to bow out of 2024 race


WASHINGTON — Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona on Wednesday became the second Democrat in Congress to publicly call for President Joe Biden to end his re-election bid as many Democrats continue to privately voice concerns over Biden’s prospects following last week’s debate.

Grijalva told The New York Times that if Biden is the candidate, “I’m going to support him, but I think that this is an opportunity to look elsewhere.”

He added that Biden must “shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat — and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race.”

A spokesman for Grijalva confirmed his comments Wednesday night.

Grijalva is a leading progressive voice on Capitol Hill, having been a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, on Tuesday became the first Democrat on Capitol Hill to urge Biden to leave the race.

Reached for comment on Grijalva’s remarks, a Biden campaign official pointed to efforts by Biden, his campaign and the White House to “address concerns raised after the debate,” including Biden’s participation in media interviews and campaign events, as well as plans to hold a news conference next week.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., (Francis Chung / POLITICO via AP Images file)Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., (Francis Chung / POLITICO via AP Images file)

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., (Francis Chung / POLITICO via AP Images file)

Democrats are scrambling behind the scenes as they debate whether Biden remains a viable candidate — and who could replace him atop the ticket if it comes to that.

Biden and his team of close White House and campaign advisers say he isn’t dropping out. On a call with campaign aides Wednesday, Biden was emphatic that he was staying in the race.

“Let me say this as clearly as I possibly can, as simply and straightforward as I can: I am running,” Biden said, according to an official on the call. “No one is pushing me out. I’m not leaving. I’m in this race to the end, and we’re going to win.”

Grijalva is the first Democrat from a vital swing state to call for Biden to step aside. Biden won Arizona in 2020 by a razor-thin margin, flipping the state to blue by just over 10,000 votes.

Both Doggett and Grijalva are in solidly blue districts and resoundingly won their races in 2022. Doggett got 76.8% of the vote, while Grijalva secured 64.5%.

In explaining his decision to urge Biden to drop out, Doggett cited sagging polling numbers and Biden’s debate performance.

“I represent the heart of a congressional district once represented by Lyndon Johnson. Under very different circumstances, he made the painful decision to withdraw,” Doggett said in Tuesday’s statement. “President Biden should do the same.”

Grijalva, 76, was first elected to Congress in 2002 and is seeking re-election this year. He is the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee and a longtime member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Nanette Barragán, told NBC News she was not aware that Grijalva was planning to call for Biden to step aside.

“You’re always surprised when you don’t know something is coming,” she said. “And I didn’t speak to him.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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