Dean Phillips ends long-shot primary challenge against Biden for Democratic presidential nomination

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Rep. Dean Phillips on Wednesday dropped out of 2024 Democratic race for the White House, halting his steep uphill primary challenge against President Biden.

The move comes after the three-term congressman from Minnesota suffered dismal results on Super Tuesday, when 15 states from coast to coast – including his home state – held Democratic presidential nominating contests.

“I ran for Congress in 2018 to resist Donald Trump, I was trapped in the Capitol in 2021 because of Donald Trump, and I ran for President in 2024 to resist Donald Trump again – because Americans were demanding an alternative, and democracy demands options,” Phillips wrote on X. “But it is clear that alternative is not me. And it is clear that Joe Biden is OUR candidate and OUR opportunity to demonstrate what type of country America is and intends to be.”

“I ask you join me in mobilizing, energizing, and doing everything you can to help keep a man of decency and integrity in the White House. That’s Joe Biden,” he said.

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Hours earlier, as the results from the Super Tuesday contests were being reported, Phillips took to social media to write, “Congratulations to Joe Biden, Uncommitted, Marianne Williamson, and Nikki Haley for demonstrating more appeal to Democratic Party loyalists than me.”

He followed up by adding “And, Jason Palmer.”

Palmer is the extreme long-shot candidate who topped Biden in the Democratic presidential caucus in American Samoa, a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean. It was the president’s first defeat in the 2024 Democratic nominating calendar.

Phillips, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, last year repeatedly cited the now-81-year-old president’s age and criticized Biden for “not passing the torch” to the next generation of Democratic leaders. 

Phillips urged that a serious primary contender challenge the president for the party’s 2024 nomination. Biden continues to suffer from underwater approval ratings among many Americans and faces concerns – not just from Republicans and independents but also from Democrats – over his physical and mental stamina.

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When no other major Democrats considered running against Biden, the multimillionaire businessman and co-founder of a gelato company turned three-term House Democrat from Minnesota launched his own campaign in late October.

 Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN)(R) holds a rally outside of the N.H. Statehouse after handing over his declaration of candidacy form for President to the New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan, on October 27, 2023 in Concord, New Hampshire.  (Gaelen Morse/Getty Images)

“The country’s being very clear right now. They do not want Joe Biden to be the president. And they don’t want Donald Trump to be the president,” Phillips emphasized on the campaign trail late last year. “Whichever party breaks that logjam will win the White House, the Senate and the House.”

And Phillips told Fox News Digital at the time that his mission was “to demonstrate that Americans are sick and tired of the nonsense. That we have a crisis that cannot be addressed by either Donald Trump or frankly, President Biden, and it’s time for change.”

Phillips reiterated that he was running on behalf of “the exhausted majority” as he spotlighted issues such as the national debt, military spending and high taxes.

And he heavily criticized the president and the Democratic National Committee for not allowing primary debates between Biden and his challengers.

Phillips focused most of his time and resources during the first three months of his campaign on New Hampshire, where the president’s name wasn’t on the ballot in the state’s Jan. 23 unsanctioned Democratic primary. 

Andrew Yang endorses Dean Phillips

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang (left) teams up with Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who’s running for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination, at a Dean campaign event, on Jan. 18, 2024 in Manchester, New Hampshire (Fox News – Monica Oroz)

But Biden ended up winning 64% of the vote, thanks in great part to a write-in campaign on the president’s behalf organized by some top New Hampshire Democrats. Phillips came in second, with just under 20% of the vote.

Phillips vowed to say in the race as he spoke to supporters in New Hampshire on primary night.

“The polls are saying he [Biden] cannot win, his approval numbers are saying he can’t win,” Phillips argued. “We’re going to go to South Carolina, to Michigan, and 47 other states.” 

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But in early February, the president won the South Carolina primary in a landslide, capturing over 96% of the vote. Phillips and best-selling author and spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson combined for less than 5,000 votes.

Phillips said after his South Carolina shellacking that he would stay in the race as “a mission of principle”.

U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minnesota, speaks at the South Carolina Democratic Party’s First-in-the-Nation Dinner, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in Columbia, S.C. Phillips is challenging President Joe Biden, the dinner’s keynote speaker, for this year’s Democratic presidential nomination. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard) (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

Two weeks later, Phillips was forced to lay off a sizable portion of his campaign staff, due to lackluster fundraising. But a Phillips spokesperson dismissed talk that the congressman would end his White House bid, saying Phillips planned to remain in the race until the Democratic National Convention in August.

The results in Michigan’s Feb. 27 primary were also disappointing, as Biden captured 81% of the vote, with Phillips at just under 3%, slightly behind Williamson. Thirteen percent of those casting ballots voted uncommitted, in a move to protest the Biden Administration’s support of Israel in its war with Hamas.

Phillips was also in the campaign spotlight due to a couple of controversies.

He faced criticism for scrubbing “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” language from his campaign website after he was publicly urged to do so by one of his donors.

And Phillips briefly flirted with a third party run on a potential ticket by the centrist No Labels group before quickly backtracking.

As he dropped out of the race, Phillips thanked his supporters.

“To all who supported my effort, thank you. We will continue the important work to ensure a more responsive, democratic, and generationally diverse political system,” he wrote in his social media post.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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