Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) said on Nov. 24 that he will not seek another term in the U.S. House of Representatives, in an announcement that came several weeks after he launched a challenge to President Joe Biden.
Mr. Phillips, 54, said in a statement that his seven years in office has presented “historic opportunities to practice a brand of optimistic politics that repairs relationships and improves people’s lives.”
He wrote, “We have met those moments, and after three terms, it is time to pass the torch.”
Mr. Phillips has helped lead the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in the House and has helped craft legislation that received bipartisan approval, including a law signed by former President Donald Trump during the COVID-19 pandemic that enabled small business owners to more easily access federal funds.
“It’s imperative we have another option to consider before it’s too late,” he says on his campaign website.
In his announcement speech, Mr. Phillips said he aimed to address problems such as rising costs and healthcare access.
“I am ready to lead our great nation to a secure and a more prosperous future,” he said at the time. “I do so not in opposition to President Biden, who has my affection and my gratitude, but rather with two core convictions: That I am the Democratic candidate who can win the 2024 election and second, it is time for the torch to be passed to a new generation of American leaders.”
Mr. Phillips was the first Democrat in an elected office to announce a challenge to President Biden.
President Biden, 81, defeated President Trump, 77, in 2020.
Both are running again in 2024.
President Biden has low approval ratings, and some surveys from battleground states have shown President Trump polling ahead of the incumbent.
The Republican Party of Minnesota said in a statement that Mr. Phillips “has been openly sharing what no other Democrat will: Joe Biden’s failed policies are going to be detrimental to Democrats up and down the ticket next year.”
Ken Martin, chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party, praised Mr. Phillips.
“We appreciate Dean’s service and his 100% voting record supporting President Biden’s historic record of accomplishments,” Mr. Martin said in a statement.
Mr. Phillips said serving in Congress was “the honor of a lifetime” and called for members to work together.
“No party has a monopoly on solutions, and we must stop fighting one another and begin fighting for one another—before it is too late,” he said. He added later: “The future is very bright, as long as we have the courage and make the choice to seek it. Keep the faith!”
SuccessorMr. Phillips represents Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District.
He won reelection in 2022 with 60 percent of the vote.
Mr. Phillips trumped incumbent Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) in 2016, flipping a seat that had for decades been represented by Republicans.
Several candidates have already launched bids, including Minnesota state Sen. Kelly Morrison, a Democrat, and Republican businessman Blaize Harty.
The Republican Party of Minnesota said that it looked forward “to bringing Republican representation back to voters” in the district and that it was in touch with people interested in running for the open seat.
Mr. Martin said there are Democrats who would be great successors to Mr. Phillips and “who understand the importance of reelecting President Biden and keeping this seat in DFL hands.”
“I’m confident we will have a strong and loyal nominee for the DFL Party at the conclusion of the process,” he said.
Mr. Phillips is one of a growing number of members who will not seek reelection to the House.
Nineteen other Democrats and 10 Republicans are retiring, though some are running for other elected positions like the Minnesota Democrat.