Biden Addressed Young Voters in New Mexico
President Joe Biden addressed young voters in New Mexico on Thursday as part of his last major campaign just days before the midterm elections.
Biden’s tour began in Albuquerque, where he talked about writing off multibillion-dollar student debt and criticized record oil company profits as Democratic candidates across the country face challenges from high gasoline prices and inflation.
The president was addressing students in pro-Democratic New Mexico County, where polls show Michelle Luhan Grisham, the incumbent governor, is ahead of Republican Mark Ronchetti by about six percentage points.
The course of New Mexico’s election echoes the political battles across the country.
Luhan Grisham has made abortion accessibility a centerpiece of her campaign. Ronchetti proposes banning the procedure after the 15th week of pregnancy and blames Luhan Grisham for rampant crime and economic problems.
Biden said his student debt forgiveness policy and Governor Lukhan Grisham’s proposed free college tuition program are designed to encourage young Americans to acquire the knowledge and skills to compete in today’s economy.
“Your generation will not be ignored, you will not be shunned, you will not be silenced,” Biden told students at Central New Mexico Community College, where he also said people should not be jailed for marijuana possession and promised to ban assault weapons.
Biden then crossed the Rio Grande River to address a rally in the state’s second electoral district, where incumbent Republican congresswoman Yvette Herrell is in a tight race against Democratic rival Gabe Vasquez.
New Mexico’s oil and gas sector is a key issue in the race, and Biden again criticized fuel companies for making record profits while raising gasoline prices.
Biden and other Democratic speakers made no mention of high consumer prices, which analysts said overshadowed abortion and other social issues on the eve of the election.
Luhan Grisham said Democrat Vazquez could win the race if voters vote early and change the district’s congressional representation – currently the only New Mexico constituency in Republican hands.
“We’re a little behind, but we’re catching up fast,” she said.
Biden traveled to California on Thursday night, will arrive in Illinois on Friday and will visit Pennsylvania on Saturday to attend a rally with former President Barack Obama. On Monday, the day before Election Day, he will appear at a rally in Maryland.
According to the White House, the president plans to counter his economic plan with Republicans’ push for a loan waiver.
Biden, whose approval rating has dipped below 40 percent is an obstacle for Democratic candidates, is fighting to help his party defeat Republicans in the fight for control of Congress.
Polls show that Republicans are expected to take control of the House and possibly the Senate as voters worry about the economy and inflation. Historically, opposition parties have performed better in midterm elections, providing balance for new presidents in the second half of their terms.
Biden warned Wednesday night that Republicans loyal to former President Donald Trump pose a threat to democracy because they refuse to accept the election results if they are defeated.