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Second Gentleman visits Democratic campaign volunteers in Phoenix

The Second Gentleman of the United States told campaign volunteers in Phoenix that he thinks President Joe Biden will again carry Arizona in the 2024 Presidential election.

Doug Emhoff, husband to Vice President Kamala Harris, joined Arizona Democratic Party Chair Yolanda Bejarano and Keep Arizona Blue Deputy Director Francesca Martin at an Arizona Democratic Party office to speak to volunteers and make a few phone calls to prospective voters.

The statement came as Biden trails former Republican President Donald Trump in most recent state polling.

But Emhoff said he believes fights over abortion rights, like the one taking place in Arizona, will help Harris and Biden win reelection in November.

He blamed former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, and he said Republican efforts to restrict abortion access since that ruling are at odds with most voters.

“It's a medical crisis,” Emhoff said. “So people are coming to the polls, Democrats and Republicans, anytime this issue has been on the ballot all across the country, because most Americans know that this is a complete crisis caused by Donald Trump.”

Trump appointed three of the justices to the Supreme Court who voted to overturn Roe in the Dobbs case.

Since that time, Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country have implemented full or partial abortion bans. That includes Arizona, which passed a 15-week ban in 2022.

That law conflicted with a territorial era full abortion ban that dates back to the 1860s, but an Arizona Court of Appeals panel ruled that the 15-week ban is the law. However, the Arizona Supreme Court is currently considering an appeal in that case and is expected to issue a ruling tomorrow.

That ruling will determine whether abortion remains legal in Arizona. 

“Whatever the court decides, it's still going to be terrible for women here in Arizona,” Emhoff said. “It's either some draconian, full, outright ban from the 1840s or a ban, which is still a ban, and that's still hurting women.”

Emhoff says he believes abortion rights — including an ongoing effort to put a ballot measure putting the right to an abortion into the state Constitution before Arizona voters – will drive Democratic voter turnout in Arizona, especially among young voters.

“When the Dobbs decision came out, the first person I heard from was my then-23-year-old daughter, who said something like, ‘Dad, you need to do something about this,’” Emhoff said. “So, there's millions and millions of young women like that, who do not want to live in a world like this.” 

Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.