Rep. Dean Phillips (Minn.) signaled in an interview with Minneapolis’s Star Tribune this weekend that he does not plan on challenging President Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2024.
Phillips, who has called for a primary challenge to Biden’s reelection bid, said in the interview published Monday that running for president in 2024 “is not something as of today that I see happening for a number of reasons.”
“Setting up a competitive campaign, the infrastructure, the people, the systems in multi-states, requires a tremendous amount of effort and time, and there are people who have laid that groundwork. I’m not one of them,” he said. “Perhaps in the future. We’ll see about that.”
Phillips still said he would encourage others to enter the primary against Biden and reiterated his concern about the advanced ages of both Biden and former President Trump, who is the front-runner in the 2024 GOP primary.
“My candidacy is very unlikely to be part of this,” Phillips said, adding that he still intends to make a firm decision on his 2024 plans next month. “But I’ve used the moment and the spotlight that came with my call to action to encourage others.”
Phillips pledged that, if Biden does win the Democratic nomination, “I will do everything I can to ensure he is re-elected despite my concerns, because they don’t even come close to the concerns that I have about his likely opponent.”
The Minnesota congressman denied any suggestion that he was using his call for new leadership as a way to boost his own Democratic profile. He pointed to the “extraordinary amount of heat” he’s gotten from members of his party in response to his public proclamations.
“Let me assure you, if I wanted to raise my profile as a Democrat, you think this is the way I would have gone about it?” Phillips said in the interview, adding, “This is not a very smart way to become better known as a Democrat.”
“This is all about conviction and principle,” he said, “and I trust people will ultimately see that because if not, then I really made a big error in my judgment.”
The Hill has reached out to Phillips’s office for further comment.
Phillips recently stirred up questions about a possible 2024 presidential campaign, with appearances on Sunday morning talk shows and interviews in high-profile news outlets.
In an interview published in The Washington Post last week, he said, “I want him to preserve his legacy, not to compromise it … And this is exactly why I’m asking — pass the torch, open the stage.”
He added, “If, and only if, the president doesn’t pass the torch, if his numbers continue to look like they do right now, and nobody is willing to be an alternative, then I will be making a really important decision, and I have not made that yet.”
The Post reported at the time that House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) had plans to meet with Phillips to address some of the remarks last week.
—Updated at 2:55 p.m.