Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota acknowledged the obvious as he launched a steep uphill Democratic primary challenge against President Biden.

“I’m the underdog. I’m the long-shot. I’m at a massive disadvantage,” the moderate three-term Democrat lawmaker from a suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota district noted as he spoke with reporters after formally announcing his White House campaign in New Hampshire, the state that for a century’s held the first presidential primary.

But Phillips, a multi-millionaire businessman and co-founder of a successful gelato company who is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, said that “this is a country of long shots.”

“I am the Democratic candidate who can win the 2024 election,” Phillips argued Friday, as he formally declared his candidacy at a campaign event outside the New Hampshire Statehouse, referring to polls that suggest former President Donald Trump edging Biden in a 2024 hypothetical general election matchups.


Phillip’s bid comes as the 80-year-old Biden continues to suffer from underwater approval ratings among many Americans. 

While the president is the commanding front-runner for his party’s 2024 nomination, polls indicate Biden faces mounting concerns from Democrats over his age and stamina. Those same surveys suggest that plenty of Democrats are anything but excited about the president seeking a second four-year term in the White House.


“People are struggling immensely,” he stressed. “We have passed very important policies, but it is not nearly enough.”

Phillips said Biden’s “a good man. That’s not why I’m doing this. I’m doing this because I’m listening to people all around the country who say they want a change. They want a new generation. That it’s time to go to the future. . . . I’m part of a different generation that’s looking ahead.”


Phillips promised to support the eventual Democratic nominee, and not back any other contender.

“I will not support any third-party entry this year – Cornell West, Robert Kennedy, a No Labels effort – anything that will undermine whoever the Democratic nominee might be I do not favor,” he added.

With New Hampshire expected to hold a primary out of compliance with the Democratic National Committee’s revamped 2024 nominating calendar — a schedule proposed by the president that upended the state’s traditional role as the first-in-the-nation primary — Biden will not be appearing on the ballot of what will be an unsanctioned contest.

On Tuesday, the president’s 2024 re-election campaign announced that Biden would not file to place his name on New Hampshire’s ballot. Top Democrats in the state now plan to mount a write-in effort on behalf of the president.

But even without Biden on the ballot in New Hampshire, Phillips is an extreme long-shot to unseat the incumbent president for the party’s nomination.

Here are five hurdles facing Phillips.

Environmental lawyer and high-profile vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. – who in April launched a primary challenge against Biden before switching to an independent run earlier this month – is the scion of one of the best known political dynasty’s in the nation’s history.

That’s not the case for Phillips. The federal lawmaker may be a brand name in his congressional district, but he’s virtually unknown to most Americans.

Pedestrians walking nearby the Phillips campaign event on Main Street in Concord, New Hampshire drew a blank when asked if they were familiar with Biden’s last minute primary challenger.

The White House, when asked earlier this week about Phillips’ expected candidacy, pointed to the lawmaker’s “almost 100% support of this president.”

Phillips on Friday responded that “yes, I voted for his polices. I’m a Democrat. I’m a proud Democrat.”

Former ambassador Terry Shumaker, a longtime Biden supporter who served as a DNC committee member from the Granite State, emphasized that to “to do well in the New Hampshire primary, you have to have a message.”

Phillips pushed back on suggestions that Biden’s age was the only differentiator between himself and the president, and on Friday he started to paint contrasts with the White House incumbent.

He argued that the foreign aid for Ukraine and Israel heavily supported by Biden should be rerouted to tackling domestic problems. And he spotlighted his differences with the president and his party when it comes to the crisis at the nation’s border with Mexico.

The DNC is fully backing Biden, as the president campaigns for re-election. At its winter meeting in February, the national party committee unanimously passed a resolution committing its “full and complete support” for the re-election of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Additionally, it has said there will be no primary debates between Biden and any of his challengers.

While Biden primary challenger Marianne Williamson — the best-selling author and spiritual adviser who is making her second straight White House run, Kennedy, and others in the party criticized the DNC and Biden, there is political precedent for the move. No incumbent president has participated in primary debates in modern times. 

While he filed to place his name on New Hampshire’s primary ballot — on the last day of the filing period — Phillips last week he missed a deadline to place his name on the ballot in Nevada, another crucial early voting state which is holding its presidential primary on Feb. 6 in the Democratic Party’s nominating calendar.

Phillips faces a Nov. 10 deadline to place his name on the ballot in South Carolina, which is scheduled to hold its primary on Feb. 3. 

“I’m going to file in South Carolina. I’m going file all around the country,” Phillips told Fox News.

But he’s already coming under attack for placing his name on the ballot in New Hampshire. 

Longtime Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina — a co-chair of the president’s 2024 campaign who is credited with helping Biden score a crucial landslide victory in the 2020 Palmetto State primary — chided Phillips on Friday for focusing on New Hampshire.

“South Carolinians have demonstrated for decades that we are good predictors of great presidential candidates,” Clyburn said in a statement. “Apparently, Dean Phillips disagrees. He’s not respecting the wishes of the titular head of our Party and the loyalties of some of our Party’s most reliable constituents.”

Biden heads to Minnesota next week, where among other things he’ll hold a fundraiser.

Hours ahead of Phillips’ campaign launch in New Hampshire, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota sent out a fundraising email on behalf of the president.

“Minnesotans love Joe Biden,” read the email’s subject line, in a subtle but crystal clear dig at Phillips.

Fox News’ Deirdre Heavey contributed to this report

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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