Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the White House’s response to Phillips’s comments.
WASHINGTON – Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips on Thursday said he does not think President Joe Biden should run for reelection in 2024, preferring instead a younger, more “dynamic” Democrat be at the top of the presidential ticket.
In an interview on the Chad Hartman radio show on WCCO-AM, Phillips, who represents Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District, was asked if he would support Biden in 2024.
“No,” Phillips replied, “I think the country would be well-served by a new generation of compelling, well-prepared, dynamic Democrats who step up.”
Phillips said he “has respect” for Biden and his accomplishments.
But Phillips, 53, also said Biden would be 80 years old in 2024 and that other Democrats in Congress share his views.
“I think it’s time for a generational change,” Phillips said. “And I think most of my colleagues agree with that.”
There has been a whisper campaign for months among Democrats who want someone other than Biden to be their party’s nominee, especially if Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the Republican candidate.
In response to Phillips’s comments, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday there’s a lot of ground to cover before the next presidential election.
“The president intends to run in 2024 — we are a ways away from 2024,” Jean-Pierre said.
She also cited two legislative wins Biden enjoyed this week: a deal on a massive health and climate bill and legislation Congress has approved that would subsidize U.S.-made semiconductor chips.
“Those are the things that we’re going to continue to focus on and much more,” Jean-Pierre said. “And, so, right now, 2024 is so far away.”
Few Democrats in Congress have made their preferences over a Biden re-election campaign public — or said outright they would not support their party’s standard bearer.
Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., said last month that he did not know if he would support Biden.
“I don’t know if he’s running in 2024 or who’s running, so I’m not going to opine on who should be president,” Malinowksi said at a town hall.
And Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who has agreed to support a legislative deal that would greatly advance Biden’s economic agenda, on Thursday said he hasn’t decided if he’ll support Biden for a second term.
A CNN poll released Wednesday showed that 75% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters want their party to nominate someone other than Biden in the 2024 election, a sharp increase from the findings of a similar poll earlier this year.
Democratic dissatisfaction with Biden comes as the president’s approval ratings remain low and a majority of Americans tell pollsters they believe the country is going in the wrong direction. Inflation remains high, consumer confidence continues to slip and the pandemic lingers.
Like all U.S. House members, Phillips is up for reelection this year, facing a challenge from Republican Tom Weiler.
While analysts are calling the 3rd District “safe Democratic,” and Phillips handily beat Republican opponents in his first and second race to represent the district, Democrats are on the defensive in this campaign season.
Biden’s unpopularity as well as historic losses the party in the White House suffers in midterms has made many Democrats in so-called “safe” districts wary.
MinnPost staff writer Walker Orenstein contributed to this report.