FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Bernie Sanders has declared the typically red state of Arizona in play for Democrats this election cycle.
The Democratic Vermont senator spoke to a crowd at Northern Arizona University's Prochnow Auditorium Tuesday afternoon, calling Arizona a "battleground state."
Recent polls have the presidential race marked as a dead heat.
Sanders, who is one of three Democrats scheduled to campaign for Clinton in Arizona this week, delivered the message that the election is critical to Americans.
"This campaign is not about Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton," he said. "This campaign is about you, your future and the future of your families."
Despite that message, the man who ran against Clinton in the Democratic primary this spring highlighted his belief that Trump is not fit for office.
"Electing Donald Trump as president would be a disaster for this country and something we must not allow," Sanders said. "In fact, I would suggest that Mr. Trump is the least qualified, the least qualified candidate in the history of this country to ever run for president. We will not elect a president who objectifies women, who boasts about sexual assaults."
Sanders also broached the hot-button issue of police shootings.
"What we have got to do is make it clear that, like any other public official, if a police officer breaks the law, that officer must be held accountable," he said.
He also apologized to the largely college-aged audience for his generation's indifference on issues like climate change.
"My generation has not solved the many, many problems facing this country that we are leaving to you," he said.
After his Flagstaff appearance, Sanders headed to Tucson for a speech Tuesday night.
The next Hillary Clinton surrogate to hit Arizona will be the candidate's daughter, Chelsea, who will speak Wednesday afternoon on Arizona State's Tempe campus.
Copyright 2016 KPNX