Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona on Sunday said he is “not at all” concerned about Democrats winning Arizona in 2024 if President Joe Biden runs for reelection.
But Kelly, who is running for a full term in November, stopped short of directly asking the President to campaign with him ahead of this year’s midterm elections when asked about that by CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“I will welcome anybody to come to Arizona, travel around the state at any time. As long as I’m here, if I’m not up in Washington in session, and talk about what Arizona needs,” the senator said.
When pressed by Tapper on whether he’s concerned that Biden may not be the best Democrat to keep Arizona blue in 2024, Kelly replied, “Not at all, Jake.”
Biden in 2020 became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Arizona since President Bill Clinton did so in 1996.
In his interview, Kelly also criticized some of the Trump-backed Republican nominees on the ballot in Arizona this November for having “dangerous ideas.”
The nominees, including Kelly’s GOP opponent, onetime venture capitalist Blake Masters; gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake; secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem, have all embraced former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election lies.
Tapper noted in the interview that Kelly holds the seat of the late Sen. John McCain, “who was a conservative, but he did work across the aisle,” before asking the senator, “What’s happened to the Arizona Republican Party?”
“I think right now that the folks you mentioned have some really dangerous ideas, and they’re not consistent with most Arizonans, even most Republicans in Arizona,” Kelly said.
Kelly repeatedly touted the legislative accomplishments Democrats have enacted, including the climate, health care and tax law Biden signed into law last week and last year’s bipartisan infrastructure package. The Arizona senator, speaking in front of a water reserve in Tempe, said policies in both bills will help Arizona combat the effects of the state’s drought, but the former astronaut sounded the alarm on the broader impact of climate change.
“I flew my first space flight in 2001 and my last one in 2011,” Kelly said. “That was four flights over a decade, and the deforestation that you see across the planet is evident from space. And if one guy can see changes in our planet from low Earth orbit, we’ve got a problem.”
Last week, the federal government announced new restrictions that would cut Arizona’s water supply from the Colorado river by 21% in response to unprecedented drought in the region. Kelly said Arizona’s water crisis is “not existential” and conveyed optimism the state could overcome the issue but called on other states in the region to engage in further cooperation to protect the region’s water supply.
“We have this climate crisis that is affecting water in the West and these reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, have gotten to what are now historically low levels,” Kelly said. “And the rate of decline is such that we have to do more.”
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