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Congressman Dean Phillips to launch Democratic primary bid against Biden

Dean Phillips, a Democratic congressman from Minnesota who is relatively unknown on the national US stage, is set to launch a long-shot campaign to primary Joe Biden in New Hampshire on Friday.

The New Hampshire secretary of state’s office confirmed Phillips is scheduled to file paperwork to get on the ballot there on Friday morning.

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The Phillips campaign did not respond to a request for comment on his impending announcement.

Phillips, who has represented western suburbs of Minneapolis since 2019 in Congress, has pointed to the US president’s age in discussing his potential primary run, saying the next generation of leaders should step up. Biden is 80 years old; Phillips is 54.

The congressman is the heir of the Phillips Distilling Company and co-owned Talenti gelato. His run in 2018 for Minnesota’s third congressional district flipped the seat from Republican control. With a slogan of “everyone’s invited”, Phillips calls himself an “eternal optimist” and “bipartisan believer”.

There’s little difference between Phillips and Biden on policy: Phillips has voted with Biden’s legislative agenda nearly 100% of the time, the White House pointed out.

While Phillips has not officially announced his run, he has teased it for months. In recent days, a campaign bus was spotted en route to New Hampshire, and a campaign van was seen in the state. The vehicles carried a campaign website, dean24.com, which has been parked but not publicly set up yet.

Earlier this month, Phillips stepped down from leadership roles in the caucus, saying: “It’s clear my convictions about 2024 are incongruent with the position of my colleagues and that was causing discomfort.”

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Phillips’s plan to primary an incumbent president has largely been met with confusion and derision, both from his colleagues and his constituents. He has also drawn a primary challenger in his district.

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A spokesperson for the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor party confirmed the state party will be supporting Biden in the primary and general elections in 2024.

Separately, Biden is set to visit Minnesota next week.