Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips, who is running for president and challenging Joe Biden in the primary, announced Friday he will not seek reelection to Congress in 2024.
“My journey to public service began the morning after the 2016 election, when I faced the reality that democracy requires participation — not observation,” the Minnesota congressman said in a statement.
“Seven years have passed, each presenting historic opportunities to practice a brand of optimistic politics that repairs relationships and improves people’s lives. We have met those moments, and after three terms it is time to pass the torch,” he added.
While Phillips has been effusive in his praise for Biden, the 54-year-old also says Democrats need younger voices to avoid a scenario where Trump wins another election next fall.
Several prominent Democrats — including Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz — have criticized Phillips’ decision to run against Biden, likening it to a “political side show.”
Ken Martin, chair of Minnesota Democrats and a Democratic National Committee vice chair, said in a statement he appreciates Phillips’ service and his “100% voting record supporting President Biden’s historic record of accomplishments.”
Martin added there are a number of Democrats who “understand the importance of reelecting President Biden” and keeping Phillips’ congressional seat in Democratic hands.
Martin said he is confident the party will have a “strong and loyal” nominee.
Anna Mathews, executive director of the Republican Party of Minnesota, said in a Friday message to The Associated Press that “Dean Phillips has been openly sharing what no other Democrat will: Joe Biden’s failed policies are going to be detrimental to Democrats up and down the ticket next year.”
She added the state’s GOP looks forward to bringing Republican representation back to voters in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District next November.
Phillips’ term in Congress will end on Jan. 3, 2025.
He is a moderate from the largely well-to-do suburbs of Minneapolis.
Before Phillips won the seat as a Democrat in 2018, the area had a history of electing Republicans to the U.S. House.
In October, Phillips became the first elected Democrat to challenge Biden for the nomination.
His run offers a symbolic challenge to national Democrats trying to project the idea that there is no reason to doubt the president’s electability — even as many Americans question whether the 81-year-old Biden should serve another term.
Phillips is one of the wealthiest members of Congress and heir to his stepfather’s Phillips Distilling Company empire, which holds major vodka and schnapps brands. Phillips once served as that company’s president but also ran the gelato maker Talenti.
His grandmother was the late Pauline Phillips, better known as the advice columnist “Dear Abby.”
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