Politics

Rep. Dean Phillips to step down from leadership position after his calls for primary challenge to Biden

Rep. Dean Phillips will step down from his role as co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, but “will remain in his congressional seat representing MN-03 and will remain a part of the Democratic Caucus,” a spokesperson for the Minnesota lawmaker confirmed to POLITICO in a 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,” Phillips said in a statement forwarded by the spokesperson. “I celebrate Leader [Hakeem] Jeffries for his remarkable and principled leadership and extend gratitude to my outstanding friends and colleagues for having created space and place for my perspectives. I’ll continue to abide by my convictions, place people over politics, and support our shared mission to deliver security, opportunity, and prosperity for all Americans.”

Axios first reported Phillips’ plans.

The moderate Democrat has floated the possibility of mounting a primary challenge against President Joe Biden, meeting with donors in New York over the summer to talk about the prospect.

In August he called on other Democrats to “jump in” to the presidential race, citing polling from The New York Times that showed most Democrats would prefer someone other than Biden in the 2024 presidential race.

“I think I’m well positioned to be president [of] the United States. … I do not believe I’m well positioned to run for it right now,” he said at the time.

But as of last week, Phillips still had not ruled out a White House bid.

“I am thinking about it. I haven’t ruled it out,” Phillips said during an interview on “The Warning” podcast, though he noted that there people “more proximate, better prepared to campaign with national organizations, national name recognition, which I do not possess.”

“I’m concerned that something could happen between now and next November that would make the Democratic Convention in Chicago an unmitigated disaster,” he told podcast host Steve Schmidt.

Biden is already facing two intraparty challenges from the author Marianne Williamson and the lawyer and anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., though he holds a significant lead in the polls over both.

“My convictions relative to the 2024 presidential race are incongruent with the majority of my caucus,” Phillips said.  

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