Amidst growing concerns regarding President Biden’s physical and mental well-being, Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota has announced his intention to contest the 2024 Democratic presidential primaries.
Phillips, a successful businessman and gelato company co-founder now serving his third term in Congress, is making this move at a time when Biden, at 80, faces dwindling approval ratings. On Thursday, Phillips formalized his campaign by filing the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and subsequently launched his campaign website.
In a video release, Phillips expressed his vision, stating, “It’s time to put our country back together again – and use our differences to make us stronger.” He further underscored the urgency of his decision in a CBS News interview, affirming his presidential aspirations and emphasizing the importance of alternatives in the election.
A notable event in Phillips’ campaign will take place in New Hampshire, historically the first state to host primary elections. Here, he plans to officially declare his intent to run for president. He has consistently been vocal about the need for newer leadership within the Democratic Party, emphasizing the generational transition.
Recent polls hint at the possibility of former President Donald Trump holding an edge over Biden in hypothetical 2024 matchups. Despite his criticism, Phillips acknowledged Biden’s significant contributions but emphasized the election’s future-focused nature.
Surveys reveal growing concerns among Democrats about Biden’s age and potential re-election. In contrast, the White House highlights Phillips’ consistent support for the current administration. Due to his potential White House bid, Phillips recently stepped down from his co-chair position of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.
New Hampshire’s primary election schedule is causing a ripple. It’s anticipated that the state may hold its primary in late January, which deviates from the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) newly revised calendar. Consequently, Biden has opted out of the New Hampshire ballot, prompting local Democrats to initiate a write-in campaign on his behalf. However, there’s increasing concern that this calendar revision and Biden’s ballot absence might further complicate his re-nomination process.
Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, maintains that there’s significant local support for Biden. He acknowledges the challenging path for challengers like Phillips but welcomes the competition.
President Biden is not without other challengers. Marianne Williamson, a spiritual guide and author, is taking her second shot at the presidency. Additionally, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., initially running against Biden, recently declared his independent candidacy.
The DNC remains firmly behind Biden, having passed a resolution in February endorsing Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s re-election. They have also confirmed the absence of primary debates between Biden and his opponents, a decision drawing criticism from within the party.
Jim Demers, a political consultant backing Biden, has dismissed Phillips’ challenge, asserting that such a move only serves to further divide the party and indirectly assist former President Donald Trump.