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Democratic congressman names governors he wants to primary Joe Biden

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Representative Dean Phillips, a Minnesota Democrat, put forward on Sunday two governors that he would like to see run primary challenges against President Joe Biden in 2024.

Biden is currently seeking reelection to a second term as president in 2024, with it being widely expected that he will secure the Democratic nomination. However, conversations about primary challengers have been rife recently, with most observers arguing in favor of them highlighting Biden’s advanced age and approval ratings. At 78 when he was inaugurated, Biden is the oldest individual ever to hold the office of president, and despite many saying his first term has seen many notable successes, his approval ratings have generally trended low.

Phillips, who has represented Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District since 2019 and has been described as a moderate Democrat by many, was rumored in late July to be considering a primary challenge against Biden for the Democratic nomination. Reports indicated that he had not made any firm decision and no announcement has materialized in the weeks since.

Phillips had previously said publicly that he does not believe Biden should be seeking reelection, suggesting that “a new generation of compelling, well-prepared, dynamic Democrats” should step up, indicating that the president’s age is his primary sticking point. On Sunday, Phillips made an appearance on NBC News’ Meet the Press, explaining that his stance is based on how people feel rather than age, stating that he is extremely fond of Biden and credited him with saving the country. Nevertheless, he added that voters want to turn the page and put forward a number of names that he would encourage to launch primary challenges.

dean phillips biden primary challengers
Representative Dean Phillips, a Minnesota Democrat, is seen at a committee hearing. Phillips on Sunday put forward some notable Democratic governors as potential primary challengers for Joe Biden in 2024.
Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

“I would like to see a moderate governor, hopefully from the heartland, from one of the four states that Democrats will need,” Phillips said, agreeing with host Chuck Todd that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer or Minnesota Governor Tim Walz would be good options.

He continued: “[Pennsylvania Governor] Josh Shapiro, there are a number of people. [Illinois Governor] J.B. Pritzker. Some people have asked me that I not use their names because of this institutional fear that it might impact you down the road. This is the time to meet the moment.”

Despite his hopes, none of the names mentioned by Phillips on Sunday have indicated that they are considering primary bids next year.

Newsweek reached out to Phillips’s office via email for comment.

So far, only two significant names have launched primary challenges against Biden: environmental lawyer and noted anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; and, self-help author Marianne Williamson, who ran a failed bid for the Democratic nomination in 2020 as well. Neither candidate is expected to have a significant presence in the race, according to polls.

Historical precedent is also on Biden’s side, as no incumbent president in American history has ever failed to secure their party’s nomination when seeking reelection. Major primary challenges, however, have been cited as factors leading to past presidents losing their reelection bids, though nothing on that scale has yet to emerge for 2024.

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