Democrat Dean Phillips drops out of 2024 presidential race

March 7, 2024

Representative Dean Phillips (D-Minnesota) has announced that he is suspending his campaign following a poor showing on Super Tuesday, reports Politico.

His decision puts an end to a campaign that attacked President Joe Biden’s age and electability but failed to draw substantial support from Democratic voters. Phillips said he was endorsing Biden’s reelection.

“Clearly and convincingly Democratic primary voters have opined that I’m not that guy,” he told The Chad Hartman Show on WCCO talk radio in Minneapolis.

Although Phillips didn’t back away from some of his criticisms of the president, he did argue that it was a fundamental necessity to keep him in the White House.

“I invite, I encourage and will do everything humanly possible to ensure Joe Biden’s reelection this November,” he said.

Phillips’ strategy depended on a better-than-expected showing in New Hampshire’s January contest, but he earned just under 20% there, and sputtered in South Carolina and many states after. His decision to challenge Biden in the first place transformed him from a rising star in Congress into a pariah with much of the Democratic Party, which saw his candidacy as an act of sabotage.

Phillips, an heir to a liquor fortune, put $5 million of his own funds into the race. Two super PACs backing Phillips’ candidacy spent a combined $3.9M on independent expenditures, with the bulk of that targeting New Hampshire. But the campaign pulled back spending and resources following his poor showing in South Carolina.

He jumped into the race in October—arguing that while he respected Biden, the president was at serious risk of losing to former President Donald Trump. As the campaign went on, Phillips became more critical of Biden and the Democratic Party. But Phillips gained no traction, even as Biden’s general-election polling against Trump looks increasingly bleak.

Phillips seemed to oscillate throughout the race between appealing to the left and the party’s center. He signed onto a Medicare-for-All bill and criticized Biden for not embracing marijuana legalization. At the same time, he knocked Biden from the right on issues such as border security.

That mixed approach, along with his reputation as a moderate Democrat who was a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, left many progressives distrustful of Phillips.

Phillips briefly flirted with appearing on the third-party “No Labels” ticket. However, his chief strategist later said that would not happen and Phillips, himself, walked it back.

During his campaign, Phillips announced that he would not seek reelection to the House. On Wednesday, he also said he “won’t run for office in Minnesota again.”

Research contact: @politico