Democrat presidential candidate and Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips is going all in on his effort to beat President Biden in the race for their party’s 2024 nomination.
In a Friday interview with the Minnesota Star Tribune, the three-term congressman and millionaire businessman said he would not be running for re-election to the House of Representatives, arguing that a return to Congress after challenging Biden would be “both unproductive and uncomfortable.”
Phillips said it was time to “pass the torch” to another candidate, citing his intention to still be in the presidential race beyond Minnesota’s June filing deadline to run for office.
“It would be irresponsible to continue to string both my constituents along and the other candidates who both have entered the race and who might be interested in entering the race,” he said.
In a post on X following the interview, Phillips said serving Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District was “the most joyful experience” of his life, but that it was “time for change.”
“Our best days are yet to come!” he added.
In a separate statement, Phillips described serving alongside his colleagues as “an honor of a lifetime,” and described part of his tenure as “some of the darkest days in our nation’s history.”
Phillips’ announcement comes just days after he angered some fellow Democrats with a dig at Vice President Kamala Harris, who he said voters had no faith in to succeed Biden should such a situation arise.
“I hear from others who know her a lot better than I do that many think she’s not well positioned,” Phillips said of Harris, in an interview with The Atlantic. “She is not well-prepared, doesn’t have the right disposition and the right competencies to execute that office.”
He also said that “Harris’ approval numbers are even worse than Biden’s,” before adding, “It’s pretty clear that she’s not somebody people have faith in.”
Phillips issued an apology to Harris on Wednesday, explaining that his comments were not reflective of his “personal experience” with the vice president, and that he respects her.
His challenge to Biden is expected to be a long shot in the race for the White House despite concern over the president’s age and his ailing poll numbers compared to former President Donald Trump, who leads the primary polls on the Republican side.