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Top Dem Congressman Will Not Seek Re-Election, Focuses On Challenging Biden

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Rep. Dean Phillips has announced that he will not seek re-election and will focus on challenging President Joe Biden for the Democrat presidential nomination.

The Minnesota Democrat’s challenge to the president is the longest of longshots, but he remains determined to focus on that campaign instead.

“My journey to public service began the morning after the 2016 election, when I faced the reality that democracy requires participation – not observation,” he said in a press release.

“Seven years have passed, each presenting historic opportunities to practice a brand of optimistic politics that repairs relationships and improves people’s lives. We have met those moments, and after three terms it is time to pass the torch,” the Congressman said.

“To my colleagues in Congress: serving with you has been the honor of a lifetime – particularly during some of the darkest days in our nation’s history.

“America has endured for a remarkable 246 years as the longest-lasting democratic republic in the world, but we are facing a crisis of cooperation, common sense, and truth. Civility matters, respect matters, listening matters, and effective governance matters. No party has a monopoly on solutions, and we must stop fighting one another and begin fighting for one another – before it is too late,” he said.

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“To my amazing community, the most engaged in the entire nation, you have made this the most joyful job I’ve ever had. I always say that representation begins with listening, and your diverse and respectful voices represent the very best of America. I know my successor will serve you with invitation, integrity, and fortitude – because you will demand it – and all Americans deserve it,” the Congressman said.

“To my extraordinary staff, past and present, you are among the best, brightest, and most principled individuals with whom I’ve ever worked in any capacity. Minnesota and the nation are in good hands, Congress is better for your service, and our country joins me in celebrating you.

“The future is very bright, as long as we have the courage and make the choice to seek it. Keep the faith!” he said.

Phillips’ entry into the race came as a large plurality of Democratic voters said they don’t want Biden to run again.

“According to a poll conducted online from October 16 to October 23 by HarrisX/The Messenger, 57 percent of Democrats think Biden should run again, while 43 percent do not,” Newsweek reported in October.

“Biden is, however, still ahead of his fellow Democratic candidate Marianne Williamson by a wide margin. Out of the 3,029 registered voters who were questioned, Biden received 35 percent of their support, while Williamson received just 9 percent,” the outlet noted further.

Pitted against GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, Biden was behind with 35 percent of the vote compared to the former president’s 38 percent. Meanwhile, independents Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Prof. Cornel West got 13 percent and 2 percent, respectively, according to the polling data.

Newsweek added the new wrinkle:

Biden is now up against a new challenger Phillips, who served Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District since 2019, after he formally launched his campaign on Friday morning. Phillips told CBS News that after looking at the polls, he is alarmed at the chance that Trump could beat Biden if the election were between the two of them.

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“I will not sit still and not be quiet in the face of numbers that are so clearly saying that we’re going to be facing an emergency next November,” Phillips said.

“My grave concern is I just don’t think President Biden will beat Donald Trump next November,” the representative added.

“I’m just so frustrated—I’m growing appalled—by the silence from people whose job it is to be loud,” he said.

A Gallup poll conducted between October 2 and October 23 found that Biden’s approval rating among voters in his party has fallen 11 percentage points in the past month to 75 percent, contributing to an overall approval rating of an anemic 37 percent.

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