‘I’m concerned’: Dean Phillips still considering Biden primary challenge

The congressman told podcaster Steve Schmidt he’s still “thinking about it.”

Dean Phillips
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

(Daily Caller News Foundation) — Minnesota Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips said he hasn’t ruled out running against President Joe Biden in 2024, citing concerns over the president’s electability and the lack of primary challengers, according to an interview released Monday.

Phillips had been meeting with Democratic donors who are seeking a Biden alternative, and has been one of the most vocal Democratic critics of the president’s reelection bid. Though Phillips appeared to shy away from challenging Biden in an interview with Minneapolis’s Star Tribune in late August, the congressman told podcaster Steve Schmidt he’s still “thinking about it.”

“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. And I’m concerned,” said Phillips. “I’m concerned that there is no alternative. I’m concerned that something could happen between now and next November that would make the Democratic Convention in Chicago an unmitigated disaster. And for a party that is acting as the adults in the room, thank goodness, I’m concerned that we are not as it relates to our electoral strategy. So I’m considering it.”

An early September CNN/SSRS poll indicated that nearly every 2024 Republican primary candidate would beat Biden in a general election, and a Washington Post/ABC poll released Sunday suggested that former President Donald Trump is leading the president by 10 points. However, most polls show Biden and Trump as being more or less even in a hypothetical general election matchup.

Phillips acknowledged that there may be other potential Democratic candidates that are “better prepared” to challenge Biden, with higher name recognition and political operations, and said he’s been encouraging them to run.

The RealClearPolitics average for a 2024 national Democratic primary, based on polls conducted between Sept. 6 and Sept. 18, indicates Biden is leading the small field with 65.4% support, followed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at 14.3% and Marianne Williamson at 5%.

“I have thought about it, and I recognize there would be laughter, there would be distaste, there would be disgust amongst many, but I also have that sense that the country is begging for alternatives,” said Phillips. “Whether that’s me, whether that’s somebody else, time will tell. But I think it’s important that somebody recognize that this is the time — don’t wait until 2028, my goodness. Serve your country now when we need you, that’s my message.”

Phillips also warned of what he views as the “dangers” of reelecting Trump, and pointed to former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who some polling suggests would beat Biden by the largest margin in 2024, as an indicator that people are also ready to move on from the former president.

Biden did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.


Mary Lou Masters