Nov 21, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Dean Phillips eyes post-Thanksgiving decision on House seat

Rep. Dean Phillips. Photo: Gaelen Morse/Getty Images.

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) told Axios on Tuesday he will decide over Thanksgiving whether or not he plans to seek re-election to his House seat.

Why it matters: Phillips, who is running for president, may add to a rapidly growing list of House members in both parties abandoning the chamber either for retirement or higher office.

Driving the news: "I have not made any announcement," Phillips told Axios when asked about his plans for his congressional seat in the Minneapolis suburbs.

  • The three-term congressman said he is "planning to make a decision over thanksgiving."
  • Candidates for Congress have until June 4, 2024 to file to run in the state's Aug. 13 primary, according to the Minnesota secretary of state's office.

The context: Phillips is waging a long-shot primary bid against President Biden, arguing that the 81-year-old incumbent wouldn't beat former President Trump in a potential rematch.

Zoom in: Several Democratic candidates have already jumped into the race for Phillips' seat, and more may soon follow – heightening speculation that Phillips won't seek reelection.

  • DNC official Ron Harris and state Sen. Kelly Morrison, a close friend of Phillips, have already filed to run for Phillips' 3rd Congressional District next year.
  • Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon has said he's mulling a bid if Phillips declines to seek another term.
  • Phillips' House colleagues and the Minnesota Democratic establishment are already choosing sides, with Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) endorsing Harris and Morrison pulling in support from former Gov. Mark Dayton and a slew of state legislators.

The big picture: Phillips' retirement would hardly be an anomaly. Just this week, Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) announced they are not seeking re-election.

  • Nearly a dozen House Democrats are leaving to run for higher office: nine are running for the Senate, Rep. Jeff Jackson (D-N.C.) is running for state attorney general and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) is running for governor.

What's next: House Democrats are holding an election on the morning of Nov. 29 to fill Phillips' vacant DPCC role, according to an invite obtained by Axios.

  • Reps. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) and Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) are running for the role.
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