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Rep. Dean Phillips

Dean Phillips draws potential primary challenger

First, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) stepped down from House Democratic leadership over his views on President Joe Biden’s reelection bid. Now, Phillips may face a primary challenger thanks to his 2024 ambitions.

Ron Harris, a Democratic Party official, told us he’s been making calls and putting a team together for a possible House run. Harris is a Democratic National Committee Executive Committee member and DNC’s Midwestern Caucus chair.

Harris is eyeing an open seat if Phillips runs for president. But Harris also didn’t rule out running against Phillips if the three-term lawmaker seeks reelection in the House.

“My main focus is making sure that this district stays in Democratic hands,” Harris told us in an interview. “Dean is making a lot of noise about potentially running for president and that’s kind of where we’re at today. That’s the foundation of which I’m exploring this run.”

Phillips, of course, has floated a longshot challenge to Biden, citing concerns over the president’s age. Phillips is mostly freelancing here as other congressional Democrats aren’t going to criticize Biden, no matter what they think privately.

“Age is the main issue in this election, because we have two men who are older than Bill Clinton, who was president when I was in college,” Phillips told Vanity Fair.

During next year’s election, Biden will be 81. Former President Donald Trump, who is the leading GOP candidate, will be 78.

In a statement, Phillips said he welcomed any challengers to the race.

“I welcome and encourage competition both in the district I represent and in races across the nation. Everyone’s invited!” Phillips said.

Phillips served as the co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee — House Democrats’ messaging arm — before stepping down over the weekend.

Mica Soellner

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