Hobbs: Biden has ‘a lot to do’ to beat age concerns in re-election bid

(The Center Square) – Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs carefully measured her words of support for President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign, as polls show the president could potentially dash her hopes of a Democratic trifecta in swing-state Arizona.

“That’s up to the president,” was her answer when asked Monday morning in Phoenix about whether Biden should drop out of the race.

Hobbs appeared more supportive when she told Phoenix television station 12News on June 30 that she sympathized with the president for having a difficult debate, noting that she had skipped formal debates in her race for governor. She told the station, “The choice is abundantly clear in this race” in terms of a choice between Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Hobbs elaborated on Monday morning about the president’s task of convincing Americans that the 81-year-old incumbent has the capacity to serve in the Oval Office for four more years.

“There is so much on the line in this November’s election, from the president down to our state legislative races,” she said. “Our fundamental freedoms, our very democracy, and I know that Arizonans have been concerned about the president’s age. Since the debate, I know those concerns are even more top-of-mind. I think that the president has a lot to do to assure Arizonans and Americans. I know that he knows that that is his job over the coming weeks … Joe Biden can do the job, and that’s all I’m going to say about the situation.”

Hobbs was one of a couple dozen Democratic governors to join calls with Biden over the last few weeks to address his campaign after what was widely seen as a poor showing at the first presidential debate with Trump.

“I’m not going to talk about the details of a private meeting,” Hobbs said Monday in response to questions about what happened in those meetings.

The Hill reported on July 7 that Maine Gov. Janet Mills and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham – both close confidants of Hobbs – expressed doubt that Biden would be able to carry their respective states after his poor debate showing during one of the Democratic governors’ calls.

Hobbs, like former Gov. Doug Ducey did before her, announced in 2023 a campaign fund aimed at increasing the number of fellow party members in the Arizona Legislature to gain control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Both chambers have a narrow Republican majority. When asked if she was concerned Biden would hurt her party’s chances at total Democratic control of government, Hobbs gave a nondescript answer that she would “continue to be focused on gaining a governing majority in the state Legislature.”

While Hobbs discounted talk of Biden’s lagging poll numbers, The Cook Political Report changed its classification of Arizona’s presidential preference from “Toss Up” to “Lean R.”

The Center Square Reporter Cameron Arcand contributed to this report.

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