Angie Craig is the first battleground Democrat to urge Biden to withdraw

Angie Craig is the first battleground Democrat to urge Biden to withdraw

Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota has become the first battleground Democrat to publicly urge President Joe Biden to withdraw from the presidential race. Craig, who represents a suburban swing district in Minnesota, expressed her concerns following Biden’s recent debate performance and his subsequent lack of a strong response.

In a statement issued on Saturday morning, Craig said, “Given what I saw and heard from the President during last week’s debate in Atlanta, coupled with the lack of a forceful response from the President himself following that debate, I do not believe that the President can effectively campaign and win against Donald Trump.” She emphasized that her decision was not made lightly, but she believes there is too much at stake to risk a second Trump presidency.

Craig’s call for Biden to step aside makes her the fifth House Democrat to do so, joining Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.). Other Democrats have privately expressed similar sentiments, and more lawmakers are expected to publicly call for Biden’s withdrawal in the coming days.

Despite these calls, Biden has consistently resisted stepping aside. His campaign communications director, Michael Tyler, acknowledged concerns following the debate but highlighted that the campaign raised $38 million afterward and is focused on moving forward and defeating Trump.

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesperson Mike Marinella criticized Craig’s statement, calling it a “transparent election-year ploy to try to cling to her seat.” Craig is running for re-election in Minnesota’s only battleground congressional district, which she won by 5 percentage points in 2022 and by just 2 percentage points in 2020 when Trump and Biden were on the ballot.

Craig had previously raised concerns about Biden’s age in 2022, pledging to work towards new leadership within the Democratic Party. However, she later supported his bid, arguing that backing someone else would be a waste of time and money. Her recent statement reflects a shift in her stance, as she now believes Biden cannot effectively campaign and win against Trump.

Craig did not endorse a successor but suggested that the situation presents an “opportunity to put forward an open, fair, and transparent Democratic process to select a new nominee to inspire and unite our great nation.”

Biden, who is 81, has been working to address concerns about his fitness for a second term. He has repeatedly vowed to stay in the race, despite several new polls showing him trailing significantly behind Trump both nationwide and in battleground states. In a recent interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, Biden described the debate as a “bad episode” and attributed his performance to feeling unwell from a cold. He insisted that only divine intervention could persuade him to withdraw from the race.

Following the debate, the University of Virginia’s “Sabato’s Crystal Ball,” a key election forecaster, shifted Minnesota from “likely Democratic” to “lean Democratic,” indicating increased competitiveness in the state. David Schultz, a political science and legal studies professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, noted that Craig’s move reflects concerns among moderate Democrats that Biden’s presence on the ticket could hurt their chances of re-election.

Schultz believes pressure will continue to build for Biden to step down, warning that his resistance could cause more chaos and division within the party.

Craig’s call for Biden to step aside has sparked a broader conversation within the Democratic Party. Congressional Democrats are scheduled to hold an emergency weekend meeting to discuss Biden’s candidacy. Hakeem Jeffries, the Democrats’ leader in the House of Representatives, has convened the meeting, while Senator Mark Warner of Virginia has also called on fellow senators to discuss Biden’s candidacy.

Several Biden loyalists, including Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, have voiced their continued support. However, even among supporters, there are doubts. Ro Khanna, a California congressman and Biden surrogate, has called for more transparency from the White House regarding Biden’s capabilities and a willingness to answer legitimate questions from the media and voters.

High-profile neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta has also called on Biden to undergo neurological testing and release the results to the public, citing concerns about his cognitive abilities based on observations during the debate.

Biden’s campaign has faced additional challenges as some top Democratic donors have begun to withhold support. Media tycoon Barry Diller, Disney heir Abigail Disney, and Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings are among those who have called for Biden to step aside.

As Biden continues to fight for his political life, the coming days will be crucial for his re-election bid. He has a packed schedule of rallies in swing states, and his ability to address concerns and rally support will be closely watched.

Source: Axios, CBS Minnesota, The Guardian

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