Democratic Rep Dean Philips admits he’s ‘thinking’ about challenging Biden in 2024 race

Minnesota congressman acknowledged that running against the president would be a ‘steep slope’

Kelly Rissman
Monday 25 September 2023 15:35 EDT
Democratic congressman Dean Phillips hints at challenging Biden in 2024

Minnesota lawmaker Dean Phillips, says he is “considering” challenging Joe Biden in the 2024 Democratic primary.

“I am thinking about it. I haven’t ruled it out,” Rep Phillips, a Democrat, said on The Warning with Steve Schmidt podcast, but conceded that taking on the president is a “steep slope.”

“I think there are people who are more proximate, better prepared to campaign with national organisations, national name recognition, which I do not possess,” he continued. The 54-year-old congressman has represented Minnesota’s third district since 2019.

He added, “I do feel strongly and I have a conviction that it’s important for democracy to have choices, to have competition, particularly in light of what I’m reading — the polling, the data — and what I’m sensing in my own intuition.”

He said he’s “concerned” that something could happen between now and next November that could result in an “unmitigated disaster” at the Democratic National Convention.

Rep Phillips also said he is “concerned” as part of the “party that is acting as the adults in the room” that Democrats are not acting that way in terms of electoral strategy.

While the congressman said that he is still “considering” challenging Mr Biden, he said he is also encouraging others who he believes are better prepared to run in 2024 to throw their hats in the ring.

He said he has “that sense that the country is begging for alternatives, whether that’s me, whether it’s somebody else, time will tell.”

He added, “I think it’s important that somebody recognize that this is the time. Don’t wait till 2028, my goodness. Serve your country now when we need you. That’s my message.”

If it boils down to a Biden-Trump matchup, Rep Phillips said, he would “ensure that [Mr Biden] stands the best chance to be re-elected. There is no question the alternative is horrifying.”

The Democratic congressman pointed out that Mr Trump and Mr Biden are only four years apart in age, but he labelled the former president as “dangerous to the country.”

This isn’t the first time Mr Phillips has threatened to poke holes in the Biden re-election campaign. Last month, when talking to the Washington Post, he said he was encouraging the president not to run again: “I want him to preserve his legacy, not to compromise it.” He added, “And this is exactly why I’m asking — pass the torch, open the stage.”

Mr Phillips said he worried that Mr Biden wouldn’t defeat the 2024 GOP frontrunner — Mr Trump — in another head-to-head. “We’re at grave risk of another Trump presidency,” Mr Phillips told the outlet. “I’m doing this to prevent a return of Donald Trump to the White House.”

Robert F Kennedy Jr is also running against Mr Biden for the Democratic nomination. As of Monday, the president had 63.4 per cent of the vote, compared to Mr Kennedy’s 14.7 per cent, according to FiveThirtyEight polling averages.

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