(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden cast Donald Trump as a factor in state-level contests across the country, telling Democrats those were crucial battlegrounds to defend their agenda in November’s elections.

“As long as Trump controls the Republican Party, he’s going to have an incredible impact on state legislative bodies,” said Biden at an event in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday for Tina Kotek, the Democratic candidate for governor in the state.

Biden raised concern about election deniers running for office as Republicans, and questioned whether they would accept the outcome of the vote.

“That’s never happened before. Never in American history,” he said.

Bloomberg News has identified 254 Republicans who have either said the 2020 election was stolen or cast doubt on its legitimacy. They include 185 current governors, secretaries of state, attorneys general or US Senate and House members, many of whom are seeking re-election this year, and 69 additional nominees.

Biden said state governors are critical to addressing the issues facing the US, such as abortion rights and climate change.

“It’s a race that matters well beyond the state of Oregon,” he said of Kotek’s contest against Republican Christine Drazan and independent candidate Betsy Johnson.

“Think about who you elect governor. Are they prepared for the state to be pro-choice?” said Biden. “It’s up to the states now to make these judgments.”

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