Rep. Dean Phillips to meet with donors about challenging President Joe Biden

WASHINGTON — Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., a member of the Democratic leadership team, will meet with donors next week in New York about a potential longshot primary challenge against President Joe Biden in 2024, according to two sources familiar with the trip.

Phillips, 54, has been approached about the possibility of a White House bid. Politico was first to report the meetings.

Phillips’ flirtation with a possible White House bid comes as he and a handful of other Democrats have openly called for a contested primary featuring younger candidates rather than handing the 2024 nomination to the 80-year-old Biden.

Last year, Phillips told a local radio show that Biden should not run for reelection, even as he praised the president as a “man of decency, of good principle, of compassion of empathy and of strength.”

Phillips, a business-friendly moderate and member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, is popular on Capitol Hill among colleagues. After winning his third term representing suburbs outside of Minneapolis last fall, Phillips won a lower-level leadership post as co-chair of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC).

Phillips and his campaign spokesperson declined to comment. A Biden campaign spokesperson also declined to comment.

The congressman has often talked about a new generation of political leaders stepping forward. And last year, he was one of several in the party who had publicly called for “new blood” to replace the House Democrats’ long-serving leadership trio: Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn.

After the 2022 midterms, those three were replaced by younger leaders.

But Phillips has rarely broken from Biden on policy. In the last Congress, the Minnesota Democrat voted for Biden’s infrastructure package, the Chips and Science Act, a major gun reform package and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Before arriving on Capitol Hill, Phillips ran his family business, Phillips Distilling, helped found ice cream company Talenti Gelato, and launched Penny’s Coffee in the Twin Cities area.

In May, NBC News interviewed Phillips about his pilgrimage to Vietnam’s Dragon Mountain this spring, the site of the helicopter crash that killed his biological father, Army Capt. Arthur “Artie” Pfefer, and seven other soldiers more than a half-century ago.

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