Rep. Dean Phillips drops bid for Democratic presidential nomination

A man speaks to a crowd
U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips speaks to supporters during a campaign rally on Jan. 22 in Manchester, New Hampshire. After being dealt a blow in Super Tuesday voting Phillips suspended his presidential campaign.
Brandon Bell | Getty Images

After being dealt a blow in Super Tuesday voting around the country and in his home state, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips announced Wednesday he would end his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The long-shot challenger to President Joe Biden got about 8 percent of the vote in Minnesota, trailing behind “uncommitted” with nearly 19 percent of the vote and Biden claiming 70 percent.

In an interview with MPR News, which came moments after Phillips spoke by phone with Biden, he explained his reason for exiting now.

“Voters have spoken,” Phillips said. “And I am deeply grateful for our country and our political system. And when you allow voters to opine, and they do, you should take their word for it. And I have. And it is not a disappointing day, it’s actually a beautiful day, because I practice democracy, I provided competition, I hopefully inspired others to participate themselves.”

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Phillips said he told Biden he would do what he could to aid his reelection.

“We have a choice now: And it’s going to be Donald Trump or Joe Biden,” Phillips said. “And anybody who cares about the foundations of democracy, who cares about decency, integrity, and competency — the choice is very clear.”

Phillips began sounding alarms in July 2022 about Biden’s ability to hold the White House in a potential rematch with Trump. Phillips, 55, said it was time for “generational change” in his party and in Washington more broadly. He had urged other Democrats to take the plunge, but no viable candidates stepped forward. 

Phillips officially kicked off his campaign in October and bet big on New Hampshire, sinking considerable time and significant personal money into a bid. In January, he secured about 20 percent of the vote in that state’s unsanctioned Democratic primary, which Biden won through a write-in effort.

Phillips was elected to Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District in 2018. The three-term congressman has said he will not run for reelection to focus on his presidential run.

Phillips said he’ll spend the remaining time in the U.S. House working on achieving bipartisan legislation. He didn’t say what would come next personally, but said he has no near-term plan to run for another office.

“I have no intentions. To seek any other public office in any state in the United States of America,” he said. “I just want to make it clear that this was not some ploy to position myself for a Senate run or governor's run in Minnesota at all. I just want to make that very clear and so that there's no speculation whatsoever.”