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Scripps News exclusive: Dean Phillips on his presidential candidacy

While largely considered a long-shot candidate, Phillips believes the next election could be a repeat of 2016 if he doesn't run.
Scripps News exclusive: Dean Phillips on his presidential candidacy
Posted at 9:26 AM, Oct 27, 2023

Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips will take on President Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nominee. Phillips sat down for a Scripps News exclusive interview to share his thoughts on the incumbent administration and what he thinks needs to change in Washington.

"I listen everyday to people around the country, who are tired of the nonsense, tired of the fighting. We're fighting each other instead of fighting for the country and it's time for generational change," he said. "I love the president. I think he's done a spectacular job. I think he has saved our country at times we really needed him. It's time to pass the torch." 

SEE MORE: Breaking down Biden's campaign strategy as he runs for reelection

While Phillips is largely considered a long-shot candidate for the White House, he believes his call for a challenger was not about his own ambitions to be president, but because he doesn’t want a repeat of 2016 when former President Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.  

"All the data, all the polling, all the conversations I'm having say the same thing: that he [Biden] is at great risk of losing the next election. I think Democrats should have an alternative, who may be better positioned to win the next election. That's all this is about. I love our country [but] we need competition."

Phillips, a businessman who's in his third term in Congress, once served as the CEO of his family business and later went on to co-found Talenti Gelato, which was sold to Unilever in 2014. In October, he stepped down as co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, explaining in a prepared statement, "My convictions relative to the 2024 presidential race are incongruent with the majority of my caucus, and I felt it appropriate to step aside from elected leadership to avoid unnecessary distractions during a critical time for our country." 

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Meanwhile, Phillips' entry into the race doesn't appear to be impacting Biden's reelection efforts. 

Asked about Phillips' potential candidacy earlier this week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, "We appreciate the congressman's almost 100% support of this president as he's moved forward with some really important, key legislative priorities for the American people."  

A Phillips campaign email sent out late Thursday said he would officially launch his campaign Friday at the New Hampshire State House. 

"Why New Hampshire? The Biden Campaign said it will not appear on the ballot in the state, which is typically first to vote in the primary process. The Democratic National Committee said South Carolina would kick off next year's primary voting on Feb. 3, but New Hampshire has indicated it would still hold its primary before that date. 


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