Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips, a member of the Democratic Party, recently declared he will not run for reelection to Congress.
This announcement comes as he launches a bold challenge for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination against incumbent President Joe Biden.
Congressman Phillips steps aside for ‘generational change’ in leadership
Phillips, serving his third term, expressed his intention to step aside, citing the need for generational change in leadership.
In a statement, he emphasized, “[After] three terms, it is time to pass the torch,” aligning this sentiment with his advocacy for fresh perspectives in the party, especially against Biden in the primaries.
The Congressman launched his presidential campaign last month in New Hampshire, a crucial early primary state.
Congressman Phillips questions Biden’s electability against Trump
In an interview with CNN, Phillips acknowledged Biden’s effectiveness but voiced concerns over Biden’s ability to secure victory in a potential rematch against former President Donald Trump.
He pointed to Biden’s age and current low approval ratings as significant factors that could jeopardize the Democratic Party’s success in the next general election.
While Phillips has faced considerable resistance within his party, as Democrats rally to support Biden and avoid division, he has not stopped critiquing the President’s policies.
Congressman Phillips criticizes handling of American citizens held by Hamas
Recently, he took to social media to condemn the administration’s approach to the situation involving American citizens held by Hamas, stating, “[It’s] unacceptable that American citizens remain held by Hamas and have not been set free through diplomacy or special forces extraction.”
Phillips, who inherited a Minnesota distilling business and formerly chaired Talenti Gelato, has committed a significant portion of his wealth to his campaign.
Additionally, a new super PAC, Pass the Torch, supports his candidacy. The PAC has been active in advertising in New Hampshire and Washington, DC, focusing on polls that show Biden trailing Trump in crucial swing states.
White House praises Congressman Phillips for supporting Biden’s policies
In response to Phillips’ decision not to seek reelection, the White House highlighted his congressional record.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates remarked, “Congressman Phillips has voted for nearly 100% of President Biden’s policies, and the President will miss his support for the Biden-Harris legislative agenda.”
Elected in 2018 to represent Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District, Phillips has been a notable figure.
He successfully unseated a Republican incumbent in a district that hadn’t elected a Democrat in over 50 years, winning by a margin of 11 points. He secured reelection in both 2020 and 2022 comfortably.
Congressman Phillips welcomes potential successors for congressional seat
After his announcement, Phillips engaged with Minnesota state Sen. Kelly Morrison and Democratic National Committee member Ron Harris, who have declared their intentions to run for his congressional seat.
He expressed enthusiasm about their candidacies, stating on social media, “Had great conversations with both @Morrison4MN and @ronharrismn and can’t wait to pass the torch and get to work for whoever becomes our nominee.”
“The amazing #DeanTeam, which flipped a 60-year red district blue in ‘18, will be an army of democracy to ensure victory again in ‘24.”
Congressman Phillips’ exit, presidential Bid: A Democratic Party shift
Phillips’ departure from Congress and his presidential bid reflect a strategic and generational shift within the Democratic Party.
His campaign, rooted in concerns over electability and a desire for fresh leadership, marks a significant moment in the evolving political landscape as the party prepares for the 2024 elections.