Rep. Dean Phillips, a moderate Democrat from Minnesota who has publicly argued for months that President Biden should not run for re-election, announced his bid for president on Thursday, mounting a challenge for the Democratic nomination.
Mr. Phillips, a third-term congressman who represents a district that includes suburban Minneapolis, enters the race with far-reaching prospects, as he acknowledged at his campaign kick-off Friday in New Hampshire.
“This is the country of long shots,” said Mr. Phillips to reporters. In a speech at a rally not long after, he said, “I invite you to join me in declaring a new American independence” — this time not by country, but “out of fear and the status quo.”
U CBS News interview In a broadcast on Thursday night, Mr. Phillips argued that finding an alternative to Mr. Biden Biden was important because the election showed the president was at risk of losing to former President Donald J. Trump.
“I’m not going to sit back and be quiet in the face of numbers that say so clearly that we’re going to be facing an emergency next November,” he said.
The Democratic establishment and major donors have already lined up behind Mr. Biden, who raised $71.3 million with the Democratic National Committee and its joint fundraising committee during the three-month reporting period that ended Sept. 30.
Mr. Phillips will also have to work quickly to get his name on the ballot in several early voting states. He has already missed the deadline to appear on the ballot in Nevada, the second state to nominate a nominee on the new presidential primary calendar approved this year by the national committee.
Mr. Phillips, 54, has for months emphasized his belief that Mr. Biden, 80, was set to face a serious primary challenge, citing the president’s age and low approval ratings as evidence that Democrats are eager for a new generation of candidates. (Several Republican candidates have made similar arguments in their bids against Mr. Trump, who is 77.)
The heir to a Minnesota beverage company that also ran the Talenti ice cream company, Mr. Phillips was first elected in 2018 as part of a wave of Democrats flipping Republican-held suburban districts in a backlash to Mr. Trump. He stepped down from his position in the House Democratic leadership this month as he sought to join the presidential race.
Mr. Phillips will join two other primary challengers to the president: Marianne Williamson, a self-help author who ran unsuccessfully against Mr. Biden in 2020, and Cenk Uygur, co-creator and co-host of the progressive talk show “The Young Turks.”
Another candidate, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., originally planned to run for the Democratic nomination, but announced this month that he would instead run for president as an independent candidate.
Mr. Phillips, speaking to reporters in New Hampshire, pledged to support the Democratic nominee, including if it is Mr. Biden, and said he would not run as a third-party candidate or support any third-party efforts.