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Second House Democrat calls on Biden to withdraw from race

By Owen Dahlkamp and Clare Foran, CNN

(CNN) — Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona has become the second sitting Democrat in Congress to call on President Joe Biden to drop out of the presidential race, according to an interview with The New York Times.

“If he’s the candidate, I’m going to support him, but I think that this is an opportunity to look elsewhere,” Grijalva told the Times. “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.”

Grijalva joins Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas as just one of two elected Democrats on Capitol Hill to call for Biden to step down from the ticket.

The comments from the two Democratic lawmakers mark a stunning public break with the president from members of his own party and ramp up the pressure on Biden at a pivotal moment for his campaign in the wake of his weak performance at CNN’s presidential debate.

CNN has reached out to Grijalva’s office for comment.

CNN reported earlier on Wednesday that Biden has privately acknowledged that the next stretch of days are critical to whether he can save his reelection bid for president.

In the days since the debate, a number of Democrats running in competitive districts have expressed their fear to the Biden campaign and the White House that the president remaining at the top of the ticket not only hurts the party’s chances of holding onto the presidency but also the coveted goal of winning back the House of Representatives from GOP control.

President Joe Biden is “absolutely not” considering stepping down, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday.

“He understands that it is fair for people to ask that question,” “Jean-Pierre said, adding that she saw the president walking around the West Wing before she came out to the lectern for the press briefing, and that “he looks great.”

Grijalva represents a solidly-Democratic district in southern Arizona along the US-Mexico border.

Arizona is a crucial state for Biden in his reelection effort and a contentious race is unfolding as Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego and Republican Kari Lake vie for a Senate seat that may determine whether Democrats can maintain their majority in the chamber.

CNN’s MJ Lee, Samantha Waldenberg and Annie Grayer contributed to this report.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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