Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., a moderate who has for months publicly argued that President Joe Biden should not run for reelection, announced his candidacy for president Thursday, setting up an underdog challenge for the Democratic nomination.
In an interview with CBS News, Phillips — who plans to officially launch his campaign Friday in New Hampshire — argued that finding an alternative to Biden was essential because of polling showing the president at risk of losing to former President Donald Trump.
“I will not sit still and not be quiet in the face of numbers that are so clearly saying that we’re going to be facing an emergency next November,” he said.
Late Thursday evening, he posted his campaign announcement on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, saying, “It’s time to put our country back together again.”
Phillips, a third-term congressman who represents a district that includes suburban Minneapolis, enters the race with long-shot odds.
The Democratic establishment and major donors have already lined up behind Biden, who raised $71.3 million with the Democratic National Committee and his joint fundraising committee during the three-month reporting period that ended Sept. 30.
Phillips will also need to work fast to get his name on the ballot in several early-voting states. Already, he has missed the deadline to appear on the ballot in Nevada, the second nominating state on a new presidential primary calendar approved by the national committee this year.
Phillips, 54, has for months stressed his belief that Biden, 80, should face a serious primary challenge, citing the president’s age and low approval ratings as evidence that Democrats are eager for a new generation of candidates. (Several Republican candidates have made similar arguments in their bids against former President Donald Trump, who is 77.)
An heir to a Minnesota liquor company who also ran the gelato company Talenti, Phillips was first elected in 2018, as part of a wave of Democrats who flipped Republican-held suburban districts in a backlash to Trump. He stepped down from a position in
Democratic leadership in the House this month as he weighed joining the presidential race.
Phillips will join two other primary challengers to the president: Marianne Williamson, a self-help author who unsuccessfully ran against Biden in 2020, and Cenk Uygur, the co-creator and co-host of the progressive talk show “The Young Turks.”
Another candidate, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., had initially planned to compete for the Democratic nomination but announced this month that he would instead run for president as an independent candidate.
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