Democratic congressional candidate Adam Frisch calls on Biden to drop out of the presidential race

Congressional candidate Adam Frisch stands in front of stairs speaking to reporters, multiple microphones and cameras.
Dan Boyce/CPR News
CO-3 Democratic Candidate Adam Frisch speaks with reporters outside his watch party at Walter’s Brewing and Taproom in Pueblo on June 25, 2024.

Updated on July 2, 2024, at 2:10 p.m.

“When two people are arguing about their golf handicap to protect their ego, I know we’re in a bad situation.”

That was the tipping point for Adam Frisch, the Democrat trying to flip Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District from red to blue this fall. As he watched that surreal exchange between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump unfold on a presidential debate stage, he decided it was time for a different option.

On Tuesday, Frisch called on Biden to withdraw from the race.

“Watching what happened at the debate on Thursday reinforced my conviction to speak up, after spending time in southwestern Colorado listening to Democrats, independents and Republicans about how distraught they are at the state of the race,” Frisch told CPR News. He does not believe Biden just had one bad debate night, as other Democrats have argued.

CPR News reached out to the Biden campaign for comment. Many Colorado Democrats acknowledged the poor debate performance last week, but Frisch is the first to call on the president to withdraw from the race.

Last Friday at a rally in North Carolina, Biden acknowledged his age while trying to reassure voters.

“I don't walk as easily as I used to. I don't speak as smoothly as I used to. I don't debate as well as I used to. But I know what I do know. I know how to tell the truth,” he said.

Election 2024 Debate
Gerald Herbert/AP
President Joe Biden speaks during a presidential debate hosted by CNN with Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Atlanta.

Frisch said during his travels around the vast 3rd District he heard from voters about the rural health care crisis, the water crisis, securing the border and more.

“The people running for president are not focused on anything to do with what I’m hearing,” Frsich told CPR News.

This is Frisch’s second run for the district. He came within 546 votes of unseating Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert in 2022. This time he’s running against Republican candidate Jeff Hurd. While on paper the district leans solidly Republican, his near-miss last time around has given Democrats locally and nationally hopes of flipping it.

Some candidates in tough races elsewhere have expressed concerns that Biden could be a drag on down-ballot races, but Frisch said that wasn’t his belief. He thinks split ticket voters will turn to Democrats running to take back control of the House to provide a check should Trump retake the presidency.

While as a Democrat he specifically called on Biden to leave the race, Frisch added, “Neither candidate should be running for president.”

Biden and former president Donald Trump are technically still just the presumptive nominees, with the Republican convention due to start in a couple of weeks and the Democratic convention in mid-August.

“I thank President Biden for his years of service, but the path ahead requires a new generation of leadership to take our country forward,” Frisch said in his statement.

Frisch said he expects to get some blowback for his call, “but I stand up for what I think is important.”

His stance does put him at odds with the Colorado Democratic Party, which Tuesday afternoon reiterated its support for Biden in response to Frisch’s comments.

“For the sake of Colorado families and our country, Donald Trump cannot win in November,” said party chair Shad Murib in a statement. “Last week, Donald Trump lied continuously to voters and refused to commit to accepting the results of the 2024 election. Meanwhile, President Biden proved that he’s the only candidate in this race with a proven track record of improving the lives of Coloradans by lowering costs, creating jobs, and fighting for our freedoms. We must unite behind President Biden, Vice President Harris, and their vision of moving America forward.”

However, Frisch isn’t the only one calling for Biden to step aside this fall. On Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas became the party’s first sitting member of Congress to call for Biden to withdraw.

It also comes amid media reports that Democratic governors have also raised concerns about Biden’s debate performance and will meet with the president on Wednesday.

As for who should replace Biden at the top of the Democratic ticket, Frisch said he’d welcome multiple candidates to step up and try, but who exactly would jump in is not his top priority.

“The sooner I get back to focusing solely on CD3 and not getting involved in a national conversation, the better it is,” he said.