Dean Phillips drops out of Democrat primary

 March 7, 2024

Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips dropped out of the Democrat primary on Wednesday after a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday where he barely registered with voters, endorsing President Joe Biden as the party's nominee because he does not see another choice on the Democrat side. 

"I'm going to suspend my campaign, and I will be right now endorsing President Biden. The choices are so clear ... we only have two of them, and it's going to be Donald Trump or Joe Biden," Phillips said on Wednesday afternoon in a radio interview.

Phillips had tried to send a message that a younger candidate was needed, but Democrat voters resoundingly chose Biden over him despite grave concerns about his age and mental deterioration.

The lawmaker had hoped for a better showing in his home state on Super Tuesday, and thought he would do better than the less than 3% who voted for him in Michigan late last month.

"Difficult" endeavor

Phillips gave up his leadership post in the House to campaign and has said he won't seek re-election.

His campaign was, "like any endeavor, a difficult one," he said during the interview. "It will expose the greatest joys you've ever experienced and probably the greatest pain, and it will surprise nobody when I say that this one has done both."

He explained why he preferred Biden to the alternative, at a time when voters seemed to be making the opposite decision.

"While indeed, I think the president is at a stage in life where his capacities are diminished, he is still a man of competency and decency and integrity. And the alternative, Donald Trump, is a very dangerous, dangerous man," Phillips said.

Voters question Biden's abilities

Polling has shown that voters question Biden's competency, decency and integrity in light of continuing high inflation, stock market volatility, and an impeachment inquiry probing whether he took payments for official favors while vice president in the House.

An ongoing YouGov survey showed that in March, nearly 49% of voters did not think Biden was honest and trustworthy, while 41% said he was.

Phillips seemed bullish on Biden's prospects of beating Trump in the general election even though he had expressed the opposite as Biden's opponent.

"I invite and encourage [Nikki] Haley supporters, Trump supporters, 'uncommitted' supporters, to unify behind decency and integrity at a time where it is so consequential to our families, for our children and to our future," he said.

RealClearPolitics has Trump 2.2% ahead of Biden on average, at a time when the Democrat has traditionally had a large lead even if he eventually loses.

In Michigan, over 100,000 voters voted "uncommitted" rather than vote for Biden during the primary, and other states also saw tens of thousands of voters choose "no preference."

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