Beto O'Rourke backs campaign for Michigan Democratic primary voters to vote 'uncommitted' over Biden's handling of Israel-Hamas war

Beto O'Rourke
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas.Brandon Bell/Getty Images
  • Beto O'Rourke is backing a push for Michigan Democrats to vote "uncommitted" in the February 27 primary.

  • O'Rourke said in an interview it "makes sense" to get Biden's attention over his cease-fire stance.

  • Michigan will be a critical presidential battleground for both parties in November.

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas is endorsing a push for voters in the upcoming Michigan Democratic presidential primary to select "uncommitted" if they're dissatisfied with President Joe Biden's handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

While speaking with The Michigan Advance on Friday, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and 2022 Texas Democratic gubernatorial nominee said that the effort "makes sense" for voters looking to pressure Biden to back a permanent cease-fire in Gaza.

"I do think it makes sense for those who want to see this administration do more, or do a better job, to exert that political pressure and get the president's attention and the attention of those on his campaign so that the United States does better," O'Rourke told the news outlet.

Michigan's Democratic presidential primary will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

The "uncommitted" campaign has been endorsed by Michigan Democrats like Rep. Rashida Tlaib, former Rep. Andy Levin, and Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud.

Hammoud has been highly critical of Biden for not backing a permanent cease-fire, writing in a recent New York Times op-ed that the president's position is a "betrayal" that "feels uniquely un-American."

"My greatest fear is that Mr. Biden will not be remembered as the president who saved American democracy in 2020 but rather as the president who sacrificed it for Benjamin Netanyahu in 2024," Hammoud wrote as he referenced the Israeli prime minister.

O'Rourke told The Advance that Hammoud's opinion article was "well-written and well-argued" and backed the call for a cease-fire.

"I agree with the aims and the goals. We should have a cease-fire … there should be an end to this war and there should be a negotiated solution to Palestinian statehood," O'Rourke told the outlet. "I share the concern that the United States is not doing close to enough to bring those things to pass."

Despite O'Rourke's position, he told The Advance that he still wants Biden to remain in the White House.

"I want him very badly to beat Donald Trump," O'Rourke said of the president. "For whatever legitimate concerns people have about President Biden's response to the war in Gaza, we do know for a fact that, under President Trump, it would be much worse."

Biden earlier this month said that he's had "extensive conversations" with Netanyahu in calling for a temporary cease-fire in Gaza.

This fall, Michigan is poised to once again be one of the most hotly-contested swing states in the country. With its mix of urban, suburban, and rural voters and the critical influence of organized labor, the state has long had political sway on the national stage.

Trump won Michigan in the 2016 general election, but Biden flipped it back into the Democratic column in 2020.

The discontent with Biden's cease-fire stance is threatening his support among Muslim and Arab American voters, who are a major presence in Dearborn and several surrounding suburban Detroit communities; those voters largely backed the incumbent in 2020.

But the Biden administration's handling of the war could cause some of those voters to stay at home in November, imperiling the president's reelection bid in a state where the margins are expected to be tight.

Read the original article on Business Insider