Dean Phillips announces his presidential campaign, with some speculating that it might mark the culmination of his political journey
This Minnesota legislator is placing a large wager on New Hampshire.
Speaking before a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, is Dean Phillips.
Dean Phillips is going up against Biden, who has the full party apparatus behind him and $91 million in campaign cash at his disposal. AP/Kevin Dietsch
N.H. CONCORD — Some of Dean Phillips's colleagues have referred to the presidential campaign he will launch on Friday as a vanity project due to its extreme lack of likelihood. Some prominent Democrats consider it a mid-life crisis in private.
Even if it is unlikely to pose a serious challenge to the president, it might also be the most concise representation of Democratic Party voters' underlying dissatisfaction with Joe Biden to yet.
Millionaire businessman Phillips has a different perspective on his outrageous offer. The Democrat from Minnesota has emphasized in private discussions that Americans require a younger leader to succeed the aging president. Speaking candidly, he has expressed fear about Biden's chances of defeating former President Donald Trump a second time, but he has also really acknowledged feeling something similar to obligation to primary Biden, according to six individuals who have spoken with him directly. One of those individuals, who wished to remain anonymous to discuss private conversations, stated that he is "seeing a problem that everyone sees, but no one is talking about." Phillips was said to be "frustrated" by it all.
"He presented it with a lot of sincerity. Another individual who spoke with Phillips cited the legislator's visit to the location where his father was killed in a helicopter accident during the Vietnam War. "He framed it as this revelation he had when he was in Vietnam," the person said. "However, I don't think he realizes the institutional forces he will face and how nobody will publicly support him, despite the fact that many Democrats secretly share some of his concerns."
At first, Phillips informed these individuals that he intended to openly seek out another candidate for this endeavor. He demanded the appointment of a "moderate governor" in August. A third source who spoke with Phillips directly stated, "I thought there was a way for him to raise this concern, identify if there was space for another candidate, get someone else in, and then gracefully bow out and resume being a member of Congress."
The other said, "Now, it seems like he missed the window to land this plane."
Rather, Phillips made the decision to run for office and formally submitted "Dean 24, Inc." papers to the Federal Elections Commission on Thursday evening. Numerous individuals stated that Phillips' forthcoming campaign will likely be quite similar to his congressional race from 2018.
In that campaign, Phillips ignored a lot of the DCC's recommendations in favor of depending on his extensive experience in marketing. In order to conduct a heavily retail-focused election, he traveled to 32 cities and villages in his suburban Minneapolis House district in a 1960 International Harvester milk truck. He largely refrained from criticizing his Republican opponent in favor of spending more money on internet advertisements than on television.
His strategy angered a lot of Democrats in Washington. Even so, he prevailed, electing a Democrat to a seat that had not been won by a party in decades.
There are already indications that Phillips is getting out his playbook again. Two operatives in the state of New Hampshire reportedly saw a "Dean Phillips for President" bus cruising around the state. The bus bears the 2018 campaign slogan, "Everyone's invited." He will also be returning with the "government repair truck," which has been repainted with the words "Dean Phillips for President." He utilized it in 2018.
According to one of the individuals who has communicated with the lawmaker directly, "he wants to scale his 2018 campaign to New Hampshire, if not to the national level."
At a Minneapolis discussion against gun violence, Dean Phillips speaks.
The timing of Dean Phillips' candidacy, which is centered on New Hampshire, is especially problematic for Democrats in the state. • AP/Jim Mone
However, a presidential primary differs from a legislative contest, particularly if unseating the incumbent is your goal. Ahead lie further evident and significant obstacles.
In part, Phillips is depending on a blustery former Republican operator to lead him after he has already failed to get on the ballot in Nevada, the second state that will produce a presidential nominee. Just two weeks ago, he had to introduce himself to the state party chair in New Hampshire, where he intends to launch his bid.
He will also be facing up against Biden, who has the full weight of the party's apparatus behind him and is sitting on $91 million in campaign funding.
According to a person acquainted with the Biden campaign's strategy, the latter is not anticipated to interact with the Phillips campaign in any significant way. If they do, the source said, they would portray him as affluent and out of touch while emphasizing his perfect voting record with Biden.
Top Minnesota Democratic operative and donor advisor Jeff Blodgett said, "Everyone I know is, to a person, mystified, perplexed, and frustrated by this move, and Dean has not really offered any public explanation." "Everyone here is committed to Biden and working to win his reelection."
Working alongside Phillips is Steve Schmidt, a prominent campaign strategist for Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign—something that some Democrats referred to as a "red flag." Schmidt also offered advice to Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, a wealthy businessman who was thinking about running for president independently in 2020. Furthermore, Ondine Fortune has joined Phillips as a media buyer, and permissions for Phillips' Friday event were secured by a company headed by Tennessee-based advertisement producer Bill Fletcher. Additionally, a number of Phillips' congressional campaign staff members are completing the early operation.
With their loss of first-in-the-nation primary status for the 2024 presidential cycle earlier this month, Democrats in the state are under a lot of pressure as they prepare for Phillips' effort, which is centered on New Hampshire. With Biden's approval, the Democratic National Committee rearranged the presidential nomination calendar the previous year, moving South Carolina up to the top spot.
The fact that Phillips hasn't contacted South Carolina Democrats yet, however, is a clue that "he's not serious," according to Christale Spain, chair of the state's Democratic Party. Phillips has been referred to as "a distraction" because "any serious Democratic candidate, would understand that Black voters in South Carolina have been the backbone of the Democratic Party." The deadline for filing for the state's presidency is November 10.
Meanwhile, an unofficial race is scheduled to be held in New Hampshire, which is not expected to produce any delegates for the winner of the state in January. Leading Democrats in New Hampshire are anticipated to spearhead a write-in campaign on President Biden's behalf, while the Biden campaign acknowledged this week that the president's name will not be on the ballot. The 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson will also be listed on the ballot in New Hampshire.
Former House Speaker Steve Shurtleff of New Hampshire stated that he "hopes" Phillips wins "because of the way things have been lined up by the DNC," who is "trying to take it out of the hands of the people." The unrest over the calendar is a contributing factor.
Shurtleff went on, "I respect Phillips for choosing to enter the race despite the possible consequences." "For someone like Dean, taking on the president could mean the end of his political career."
Democrats in Minnesota are still puzzled about Phillips' future, even though several of them have stated that they anticipate him to run for statewide office at some point. Rather, Democrats are lined up to compete for his House seat; a member of the DNC executive committee named Ron Harris has already emerged as his primary opponent.
Mike Erlandson, a former chair of Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, stated, "I believe every other Democratic member of Congress in Minnesota is supporting Biden, so it doesn't help when your home team is on board with the incumbent president, while you're trying to mount a challenge." Though this probably doesn't assist him with a statewide office run at home, I don't sure if the congressman is really bothered with what other people in political offices of power think.