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Rep. Dean Phillips ends a longshot bid to defeat Biden in the Democratic primary

Democratic challenger and U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips listens to supporters during a campaign rally on Jan. 22 in Manchester, N.H.
Brandon Bell
Getty Images
Democratic challenger and U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips listens to supporters during a campaign rally on Jan. 22 in Manchester, N.H.

Updated March 6, 2024 at 1:45 PM ET

Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., who ran a longshot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination against President Biden and in contempt of the national party's wishes, has announced he's suspending his campaign.

Phillips had campaigned particularly hard in New Hampshire, where, because of a dispute between the state and the Democratic National Committee, Biden was not on the party's primary ballot. Yet Biden won that Jan. 23 primary as a write-in candidate regardless.

In a statement on X the day after Super Tuesday, Phillips endorsed Biden.

"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 said. "But today, in light of the stark reality we face, 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."

In November, Phillips set Super Tuesday as his personal deadline to establish a viable campaign. If not, he said he would "wrap it up and endorse the likely nominee — Biden or otherwise."

Phillips, a native of Edina, Minn., was first elected to public office in 2018 after he defeated a Republican incumbent in Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District, and proceeded to win his reelection bids in 2020 and 2022.

Before that, Phillips led his family's business, Phillips Distilling, which is said to have brought "super premium" vodka into the American market. He also ran Talenti, a gelato company.

Phillips lent his own earnings to fund his campaign, throwing $4 million into the mix over the last few months.

A campaign to offer an alternative to Biden

The striking loss in New Hampshire was followed by adistant third place finish for Phillips in South Carolina where he garnered fewer votes than both Biden and self-help author Marianne Williamson.

The losses came as Democrats worried that a stronger showing from Phillips would erode confidence in Biden's reelection campaign.

Phillips maintained his goal was to help the party: by giving Democrats a fighting chance to make sure Trump doesn't win a second term.

He made that objective clear in apost on X, formerly known as Twitter, last November: "The goal is to maximize the odds of beating Trump."

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: March 8, 2024 at 12:00 AM EST
A previous version of this story misspelled Phillips' hometown as Edna.
Jeongyoon Han
[Copyright 2024 NPR]

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