Democratic U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, representing Minnesota’s Third District, which includes Eden Prairie and surrounding suburbs in the western and southwestern metro, has officially announced his 2024 presidential candidacy.
Phillips, while acknowledging the uphill battle his candidacy faces, takes a position distinct from his party by opposing President Joe Biden’s bid for reelection.
On Thursday, the 54-year-old Phillips launched his campaign for the Democratic primary against the incumbent president. He intends to file for participation in New Hampshire’s presidential primary on Friday, and his campaign website is now operational.
He explained his reasons for running for president through a statement posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) on Friday morning, outlining the core themes of his campaign. Phillips articulated “the four main things” that will shape his campaign’s agenda in his statement.
“First and foremost, it will be about the economy,” Phillips stated. “We have to make life more affordable for the middle class, which is the issue that voters care about most. We need to bring down the cost of living and make life affordable again.”
Continuing on the theme of economic policy, Phillips emphasized the importance of celebrating success and positioning the United States as the world’s most prosperous nation.
“America should be the most prosperous country in the world, and we need to be both pro-business and pro-worker to get there,” he noted.
The second key element of Phillips’ campaign focuses on safety.
“If people don’t feel safe in their communities, not much else matters,” he stated. Phillips acknowledged the existence of drug and mental health crises in the country, which, in his view, are taking a “horrible toll” on individuals and their communities.
He stated that his campaign will also focus on generational change and the need for policies that invest in the country’s future and its younger generations.
Lastly, Phillips highlighted his commitment to fostering a less divisive political environment by encouraging open dialogue and listening to each other.
“There’s government reform that will help with this too — we need term limits, campaign finance reform, and things like bipartisan cabinets,” he wrote.
Phillips, who has been in office since 2019, recounted his initial motivation to enter politics, explaining, “I promised my daughters when (former President Donald) Trump won in 2016 that I’d stand up and do something about it, so I ran for Congress and am now on my third term.”
While Phillips admitted that he did not initially intend to run for president in 2024, he expressed concerns about the potential for the Democrats to lose and for former President Trump to return to office.
“President Biden is a good man and someone I tremendously respect,” he stated. “I understand why other Democrats don’t want to run against him, and why we are here. This is a last-minute campaign, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and courage is an important value to me.”
If President Biden is the Democratic nominee, Phillips wrote that “we face an unacceptable risk of Trump being back in the White House. I know this campaign is a long shot, but that is why I think it is important and worth doing.”
As he listened to voters over the past few weeks, Phillips expressed gratitude for the support he has received and voiced confidence in his ability to win both the primary and general elections.
“People know in their hearts that it’s time for a change,” he wrote. “We can do this together. Everyone’s Invited!”
Early reactions to Phillips’ presidential bid were met with skepticism, as evident from comments on his social media post.
One person wrote: “Sorry, Dean, this is not a good choice. You’ve done well in MN Congress, but the majority of voters have no idea who you even are.” Another person stated, “This is a huge mistake,” while another simply urged, “Dude. Stop.” However, amidst the critical comments and GIFs, one person offered a more positive perspective, saying, “Thanks for giving this a shot – feels important to have an open conversation.”
Meanwhile, reports from the Star Tribune suggest that Phillips’ unconventional move has raised concerns within the Democratic Party. Some worry that his candidacy could potentially harm President Biden’s chances of securing reelection, while others doubt the feasibility of Phillips securing a path to victory.
Democratic strategist Joe Trippi expressed strong doubt of Phillips’ challenge to Biden, stating on X, “Amazing to me the ego required to be so reckless. But the reality is Dean Phillips is clueless about what it takes to run for president. Hint: it’s harder than it looks.”
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