Rep. Phillips set to file paperwork for presidential run Friday in New Hampshire

A man sits in a U.S. Congress meeting room, listening.
Rep. Dean Phillips is expected to appear Friday in New Hampshire to file papers for a presidential campaign.
Kevin Dietsch-Pool | Getty Images

Updated 4:17 p.m.

The New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office says it expects Rep. Dean Phillips to appear for a presidential campaign filing Friday.

The Minnesota Democrat has alerted the office to his expected midmorning arrival.

Candidates who want to be on that state’s ballot have until Friday to get their names in. New Hampshire law requires they appear in person if it’s the last day.

Phillips, now in his third term in Congress, has been exploring a Democratic primary challenge to President Joe Biden. He’s voiced doubts about Biden’s ability to hold the White House and called for generational change in his party and in Washington.

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Phillips hasn't formally said he's running, but a bus with his campaign slogan is already on the road. He’s also signaled that he will seek a fourth term if his bid for president is unsuccessful.

He faces long odds beating an incumbent for the party’s presidential nomination. Fellow Democrats have criticized Phillips for taking on the party’s incumbent and argued he has no practical route to the 2024 nomination.

Phillips did not file to run in the Nevada Democratic primary, which is set for Feb. 6, the same day tentatively as the New Hampshire primary. Those are the earliest contests for Democrats in the 2024 cycle after South Carolina's Feb. 3 primary.

New Hampshire, though, is known for its independent streak among voters, and Biden finished a distant fifth there in the 2020 presidential primary.

Biden campaign officials this week signaled that the president will not be filing paperwork for New Hampshire’s Democratic primary, citing Democratic Party rules. However, a robust effort is underway to mount a write-in campaign for Biden to demonstrate his support in the Granite State.

“President Biden will be the nominee. That’s where I stand,” Gov. Tim Walz said flatly this week when asked about the prospect of a Phillips run.

Minnesota DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said he was a “huge fan” of Phillips and his work in the state’s 3rd Congressional District, but did not support Phillips’ presidential aspirations.

“I'm obviously disappointed that he's decided to, you know, squander his political capital on a wild goose chase,” Martin said.

House disclosure forms indicate that Phillips has personal wealth in the tens of millions of dollars, although he could struggle to self-fund a presidential campaign.

Before running for public office, Phillips worked at his family’s business, Phillips Distilling Co., eventually becoming chief executive. According to his congressional campaign website, he left the company to join Talenti Gelato.

Phillips in the biography section of his congressional campaign website said he met former Illinois GOP Rep. John Anderson when he spoke with students at the Blake School. Anderson launched an unsuccessful independent bid for president in 1980.

“Many of his principles resonate with me to this day, including the importance of independent-mindedness in government and his disdain for the role of special-interest money in campaigns,” Phillips wrote.

Mark Zdechlik reported from New Hampshire. Dana Ferguson reported from Minnesota.