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Arizona Democrat to raise extreme heat with Biden 1 year out from Senate primary

When President Joe Biden arrives in the village of Grand Canyon, Arizona, on Monday, he will join us in presenting the heat wave bill that President Joe Biden has introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives as the Southwest struggles with record temperatures. this summer.

“I’m going to drive over and meet him on the tarmac,” Gallego said Sunday in the heat of West Sun Valley, Arizona, against a backdrop of cacti. “That way you can talk to him easily, especially about heating laws. You know, we’re all talking about it right now. You have to.” In such extreme heat conditions. “

Biden is reportedly visiting Arizona to designate the vast area around the Grand Canyon as a national monument to protect it from potential uranium mining. Washington Post.

During a tour of the West this week, he is expected to tout the administration’s efforts to combat climate change under its anti-inflation laws. And when the president last month announced new measures to protect workers in the scorching heat, including measures to make drinking water more accessible, he said, “We are committed to helping our communities now. I will outline the steps we will take,” he said. ..their city is in real danger”—Gallego argues that this is not enough.

“I think he should do more,” Gallego told ABC News. “This is such a big problem, especially in the Southwest, but also in other parts of the country, that we either support passage of this bill or take some administrative action to allow FEMA and states to declare a state of emergency. It’s very important to get the funding we need to create programs that will save people from extreme heat.”

Gallego will promote legislation it introduced in June to add extreme heat to FEMA’s list of major disaster-eligible events. He met with Biden the day after he held City Hall inside a tucked-away retirement community in Phoenix’s West Valley to mark one year until the Arizona primary. Gallego is running for the Senate seat currently held by Arizona Senator Kirsten Cinema.

At City Hall, where more than 150 Arizonans have evacuated from 108-degree temperatures, Gallego cited the example of the federal government paying for certain cooling facilities this summer if a bipartisan bill is passed. .

“The City of Phoenix and other cities are pulling money out of the general budget for that. Instead, all we can do is call FEMA and have them reimburse us. It’s a tax on the people. Of course, the federal taxes you’re paying now could fund these kinds of programs.”

Barbara Rae of Suncity West, Arizona, a retired and registered Democrat, echoed Gallego’s concerns, saying Biden had “done a lot and could do more.” Stated. Ray said global warming and its impact on Arizona, which experienced record heat this summer, is a big concern.

“We have to start working more now, or it will only get worse. If things get worse than this, many of us may not be here, but I We have to leave our children and grandchildren a better place to live,” Ray said.

Inside the air-conditioned ballroom, many had other thoughts. “Will cinema ever be shown again?”

Senate election campaign

Cinema, who left the Democratic Party last December to become an independent, has not announced whether she will run for re-election, but several voters who supported her in the past told ABC News that she would win. He expressed doubts about the possibility.

“I feel cheated, really cheated,” said Diane Blumberg, a Democrat registrant in Surprise, Arizona. “I feel like she became a Democrat just to win, and I will never vote for her again.”

“I am very disappointed with Kirsten Cinema,” said independent voter Sandy Shocker of Buckeye, Arizona. “She didn’t live up to our expectations. Mr. Gallego has run for our Democratic Senate. I would love to see him win.”

Cinema’s office did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment, but told local news outlet Arizona’s Family that she was working and was “not involved in the campaign.”

If she does run, Cinema will secure a triumvirate of independents, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate race, while independent voters now outnumber Republicans and predict a winner next November. It will avoid primaries in states where it is difficult to do so. . Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb is already running for the Republican nomination, but Donald Trump’s ally Kari Lake is also expected to run in early fall, potentially leading to an inter-MAGA primary race. is rising. Both Lake and Lam have denied the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.

Regardless of who runs, the Democratic majority in the Senate is narrow and will be open to a Republican takeover in 2024. There is little room for error: The Senate has 49 Republicans, 48 ​​Democrats, and 3 independents, all of whom often vote for Republicans. Democratic Party.

Gallego said he believes his career will make him a winning candidate in what he calls “the most important election ever.”

The son of Mexican and Colombian immigrants, Gallego graduated from Harvard in poverty and joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He was sent to Iraq, where his company lost 23 men. He continued to pursue his public office, serving in the Arizona State House of Representatives and winning a fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives last year. He says all his experiences, in addition to being his father, have shaped his life.

“We are in a very dire situation. [candidate] “By the time there is an election, who will probably be facing four crimes,” Gallego said at City Hall on Sunday. there are,” he said. And Arizona can and will be the key to making sure we have a safe democracy and sound politics. “

Gallego said staying in a seat in the House of Representatives and maintaining seniority was the safe path, but it wasn’t the path he chose.

“I came to Washington, D.C. to make sure I fight for Arizonans every day, and that’s why I’m running for Senate,” Gallego told ABC News Sunday.

Races will cost money. Senator Mark Kelly’s 2022 re-election was the third-most expensive campaign of that election cycle, with about $236 million spent on the election. That number is expected to rise further this time as the presidential candidate is at the top of the list.

“Our country is truly an iconic state for the rest of the country,” Gallego said. “What Arizona is going to be is where this country is really going, and that’s why I think it’s important for Democrats to invest here.”

Once home to the Republican Party, Arizona is now a true battleground in American politics. Many of Trump’s statewide Republican candidates for office have rejected the 2020 election results and lost in last fall’s midterm elections. Biden reversed the state to Democrats in 2020, the second time in more than 70 years that Democrats backed Arizona in a presidential election.

Gallego touts himself as a ‘sure thing’

Gallego’s city hall in Buckeye, Ariz., the town of the district headed by Rep. Paul Gossar (R-Arizona), has been closed for the first time since taking paternity leave last month to welcome its newborn daughter, Ira. election campaign event. According to his campaign, no Democratic Senate candidate has recently hosted a city hall in Buckeye or Gilbert. The campaign said it was part of Ruben’s “go anywhere, talk to anyone” strategy.

“Last year, the 2022 election was very important. The 2020 election was an existential one. This time it’s everything,” Gallego said. “I always liken this to a Star Wars movie, right? This is the last one. We have to make sure we really destroyed that death star.”

Gallego was asked in a voter-filed question at City Hall how he would fare against former Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Lake if he ran for office. While she spoke of the past, he spoke of the future. I replied that I would. .

“She wants to talk about 2020 and 2022. I want to talk about 2024, 2026, 2030 and beyond. She talks about what happened then. I want to,” he said. “She wants to talk about division. That’s her only vision. I’m not here to divide Arizonans. I’m not here to divide Americans. Me We’re here to bring everyone together and make it a success.Let her play that game. And we’ll play our game “

Meanwhile, on Sunday in Marysville, Ohio, Lake, who continues to appear at conservative events around the country, spoke at the Union County Republican Party’s Summer Farm Fest.

Asked about his candidacy for the Senate, Lake told ABC News that he was “seriously considering it” and would make a decision in the coming months.

“In the next election, I don’t want them to use the same tactics that we did in 2020 and 2022. We want to protect that vote. “I’m working on it. But I’m serious about it,” she said.

Gallego, who has called Lake the “Queen of MAGA,” calls himself the “sure thing” for a secure democracy.

“I say confident because it confirms that there are good elected officials who will fight for the people of Arizona every day,” he said.

ABC News’ Isabella Murray contributed to this report.

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