“House Democrat Dean Phillips Announces Primary Challenge to President Biden”
In an unexpected turn of events, Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips made headlines on Thursday when he announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential race, setting the stage for a long-shot Democratic primary challenge against the incumbent President, Joe Biden.
Phillips, a three-term congressman, expressed his admiration for President Biden’s work but underscored the importance of looking ahead. In a clip shared online with CBS News, he emphasized that the upcoming election is all about the future. He pointed out, “I will not sit still, I will not be quiet in the face of numbers that are so clearly saying that we’re going to be facing an emergency next November.”
The official campaign launch is scheduled for Friday in Concord, where Phillips intends to file for the Democratic primary in New Hampshire. On Friday morning, the campaign premiered its first 60-second ad in the Granite State. While it provided some insight into Phillips’s background, it notably did not mention President Biden by name.
Phillips has garnered attention by leaving his House Democratic leadership position, citing concerns about the president’s age and approval ratings. Still, his decision to challenge Biden comes at a time when Democrats are working to rally behind the incumbent, stave off independent spoiler candidates, and highlight the administration’s accomplishments. Supporters of President Biden have characterized Phillips’s bid as a distraction that focuses on the president’s vulnerabilities.
Earlier, Phillips attempted to contact President Biden in August, but the president was unavailable. Instead, he had a conversation with White House chief of staff Jeff Zients, who listened to his concerns. However, the message from Zients was clear: “The president is the right person to win in 2024 and finish the job.”
Phillips has not shied away from his intention to critique President Biden in his upcoming speech on the steps of the New Hampshire State Capitol. He is expected to address issues such as growing border and city chaos and a perceived decline in the commitment to addressing these challenges.
Phillips’s campaign strategy has already presented challenges for the Democratic Party. President Biden will not file to appear on the New Hampshire Democratic primary ballot due to the state’s non-compliance with the national party’s revised nominating calendar. Instead, Democrats will launch a write-in campaign for the president. With Phillips entering the race, this effort becomes crucial to New Hampshire Democrats who seek to avoid an early primary defeat for Biden.
Phillips’s announcement video underscores his campaign’s focus on the New Hampshire primary. He reminisces about summer visits to the state as a child and celebrates its tradition of direct engagement between voters and presidential candidates. This focus on retail politics sets Phillips apart from President Biden’s campaign approach.
Interestingly, Phillips is receiving counsel from former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, known for his work on the campaigns of President George W. Bush and the late Senator John McCain. Schmidt, who left the GOP in 2018, brings a unique perspective to Phillips’s campaign.