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Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips has reportedly booked a campaign bus for what appears to be a primary challenge to President Joe Biden, setting the Democratic backbencher up for a long-shot bid that is likely to make him a pariah among his colleagues in the House of Representatives.
Radio station WCCO reported on Wednesday that a bus bearing custom wrapping with the message “Dean Phillips for President” was spotted along Ohio roads this week.
The third-term Democratic representative, an extremely wealthy owner of the Phillips Distillery liquor business, has served in the House since 2019.
According to FiveThirtyEight, he has voted with Mr Biden’s preferred positions at all times since the 46th president took office.
But in recent weeks, Mr Phillips has signalled his intent to challenge him for the Democratic nomination, even as most in his party believe the only person who would benefit from a challenge to Mr Biden would be the likely GOP nominee, former president Donald Trump.
Last week, Mr Phillips stood down from his role in the Democratic House leadership, citing his belief that his “convictions relative to the 2024 presidential race are incongruent with the majority of [his] caucus” because of his desire to see someone attempt to unseat Mr Biden as the Democratic standard-bearer.
In a recent interview with PBS, he cited Mr Biden’s age as the reason for his support of a primary challenge.
“First of all, my call is for the president to pass the torch. I think that would be in the country’s best interests, and certainly Democrats. We have an extraordinary bench of Democrats ready to go, prepared, proximate, well-positioned, but we will never know that,” he said.
Neither representatives for Mr Phillips nor the Biden campaign responded to requests for comment from The Independent.