Start the day smarter ☀️ How often do women giving birth at individual hospitals experience heart attacks, seizures, kidney failure, blood transfusions or other potentially deadly problems? Notable deaths in 2023 Human trafficking laws
2024 U.S. General Elections

Democratic lawmaker mulling run against Biden says voters want 'competition' not a 'coronation'

Ken Tran

WASHINGTON — Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., who is considering a long-shot primary bid against President Joe Biden in the 2024 Democratic primary, said Democrats are looking for “competition” in the field. 

“Democrats are telling me that they want, not a coronation, but they want a competition,” Phillips told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. 

Phillips has been meeting with Democratic donors about a potential primary challenge amid concerns about Biden’s age and whether he is the best fit to serve. While there are other candidates in the 2024 Democratic primary, Phillips would be the first member of Congress to challenge Biden for the nomination. 

Phillips said he considers himself “well positioned to be president of the United States” but not “well positioned to run for it right now.” Instead, he called on other Democrats who think otherwise to also enter the race. 

“My call is to those who are well positioned, well prepared, have good character and competency, they know who they are, to jump in, because Democrats and the country need competition. It makes everything better,” Phillips said.

Related:Biden has turned his age into a punchline. But are voters laughing?

Representative Dean Phillips, a Democrat from Minnesota speaks during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing looking into the firing of State Department Inspector General Steven Linick, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on September 16, 2020.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., perhaps the most well known presidential candidate challenging Biden, is not the type of competition that Phillips said he is “looking for.” 

“I don’t believe him to be a Democrat,” Phillips said of Kennedy, who is an anti-vaccine activist. Kennedy drew widespread condemnation in July when he claimed COVID-19 was “targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people” while Ashkenazi Jewish people and Chinese people were more immune to the virus.

Phillips also took aim at left-wing activist Cornel West, who is running as a third-party candidate. West’s candidacy, Phillips said, could take votes from the Democratic nominee and consequently hand Republicans the White House.

The Democrat from Minnesota declined to provide a timeline as to when he would make a formal decision but pointed to the 2024 Republican presidential field as an example of healthy competition. 

“We have 12 Republicans as options for Republican primary voters. Right now, we only have three in the Democratic side. I believe in competition. We're the Democratic Party. Democracy means the freedom to make choices, and we don't have many of them,” Phillips said.

US President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks about his economic plan "Bidenomics" at Auburn Manufacturing Inc. in Auburn, Maine, on July 28, 2023. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) ORIG FILE ID: AFP_33Q66BC.jpg
Featured Weekly Ad