If Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips eventually decides to launch a primary challenge against President Biden, the Minnesota lawmaker won’t be on the ballot in a key early voting state.
Phillips missed a Monday deadline to place his name on the ballot in Nevada, which is holding its presidential primary on Feb. 6 in the Democratic Party’s nominating calendar.
The three-term congressman’s name was not on the list released by Nevada’s Secretary of State’s office of candidates from major political parties who filed to place their names on the ballot.
Phillips, citing the 80-year-old president’s age, has repeated criticized Biden for “not passing the torch” to the next generation of Democratic leaders and has urged that a serious contender primary challenge the president for the party’s 2024 nomination.
Phillips has let lapse a September deadline he set for himself to decide whether he’d launch a primary challenge against the president.
Nevada is holding its presidential primary on Feb. 6 — although the state GOP is holding a presidential caucus two days later. According to Democratic National Committee, which earlier this year upended years of tradition by revamping their longstanding nominating calendar, the Silver State is supposed to vote second, along with New Hampshire, three days after South Carolina’s Feb. 3 kick off primary.
It’s all-but-certain that New Hampshire will move up the date of its primary to late January, in accordance with a state law that mandates the Granite State’s primary is held seven days ahead of a similar contest.
Phillips has until Oct. 27 to file to place his name on the New Hampshire primary ballot.
Fox News confirmed that Phillips has reached out to some Democratic operatives in New Hampshire. The development — first reported by Politico — is another sign Phillips is taking steps towards a potential primary challenge against Biden.
Phillips also reached out by phone and spoke with longtime New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley.
“I reminded him the deadline is the 27th for New Hampshire and once he files he can’t get his name off the ballot if he changes his mind,” Buckley told Fox News on Tuesday.
Buckley added that “I told him of course we would be gracious hosts, as is our tradition, but both polling and grassroots interactions in New Hampshire reveal a high level of support for President Biden among the likely voters. It would be a tough challenge for Phillips or anyone. But sure, c’mon on up! “
While the president’s the commanding front-runner for his party’s nomination, polls indicate Biden has faced plenty of concerns from Democrats over his age and physical and mental stamina.
The president is already facing a long-shot primary challenge from best-selling author spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson, who is making her second straight White House run.
Biden was also facing an uphill primary challenge from environmental lawyer and high-profile vaccine critic Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is a scion of arguably the nation’s most famous family political dynasty.
But Kennedy announced at a campaign event in Philadelphia earlier this month that he would now seek the White House as an independent candidate.
The DNC is fully backing Biden, as the president campaigns for a second four-year term in the White House. At its winter meeting in February the DNC unanimously passed a resolution committing its “full and complete support” for the re-election of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Additionally, the DNC has said there will be no primary debates between Biden and any of his challengers.
Williamson, Kennedy and others in the party criticized the DNC and Biden, but there is political precedent for the move. No incumbent president has participated in primary debates in modern times.
With New Hampshire all-but-certain to move up the date of their contest and hold a presidential primary unsanctioned by the DNC, their contest will be found non-compliance and penalized by national Democrats. The president is not expected to file to place his name on the New Hampshire ballot, which would lead to a write-in effort for Biden by Democrats in the Granite State.
Jim Demers, a longtime New Hampshire based political consultant and lobbyist who is helping to lead the write-in effort for Biden, terms a potential primary by Phillips “a ridiculous idea.”
“Democrats in New Hampshire support the president,” Demers emphasized. “So if his mission is to divide Democrats and help Donald Trump, then that’s what he’s doing.”