Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), who became the first member of Congress to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) 2016 presidential campaign, announced this week that he will back Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) this time around.
“I think it's a very powerful combination that Elizabeth has,” Grijalva told The Daily Beast ahead of a Thursday event in Arizona where he will introduce the Massachusetts Democrat. “And that's that she's got the intellect and more importantly the heart for this job. And that I think she brings in a level of smarts and energy. I think that's what it's going to take to take Trump out. And philosophically, I agree with her.”
Grijalva stressed that his support for Warren was “not a repudiation of Bernie. This is not an abandonment of the reasons and positions of why I supported him.”
A member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Grijalva said that he was in fact enthused when Sanders and Warren vociferously defended their ideas against a large group of centrist Democrats during the first night of CNN’s 2020 primary debates this week in Detroit.
“There’s a shared constituency there and a constituency that is driven by ideas and their concern for the future,” Grijalva said. “I was very proud. I think it showed that night that there’s some serious leadership and serious gravitas on the part of those candidates.”
Without naming any other candidates in the field, the Arizona Democrat stressed that he believes the way to defeat President Trump—both in Arizona and the rest of the country—is with bold policy ideas on climate change, the economy, education, and immigration.
“I don't think we're going to beat Trump by working around the edges,” he said. “I don't think we're going to beat Trump with nuance. You're going to beat Trump with ideas, strong ideas and somebody that can defend those ideas, communicate them succinctly to people without getting into some academic discussion about each subject.”
Endorsements from members of Congress have been much more diffuse this cycle than last. At this stage in the 2016 race, everyone who had already picked a side supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. Currently, former Vice President Joe Biden has 16 endorsements while Warren has eight, with the recent additions of Grijalva and Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM).
While Grijalva likes both Warren and Sanders, he noted that another candidate captured his attention during the debates with his answers on immigration: former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.
Asked by The Daily Beast, if Warren and Castro would be his perfect ticket, the congressman only let out a hearty guffaw.