Dean Phillips discusses goals, criticisms ahead of New Hampshire presidential primary

Phillips faces first test of presidential campaign with New Hampshire primary

Phillips faces first test of presidential campaign with New Hampshire primary

The ever-important New Hampshire presidential primary takes place Tuesday, with big implications for the nomination battles once the results come in.

The Republican race has been narrowed down to just two people: former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

As for the Democrats, President Joe Biden isn’t on the ballot and has skipped campaigning in New Hampshire. Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips, on the other hand, has been crisscrossing New Hampshire.

Phillips knows many of his fellow Democrats are critical of him, with some even wondering why he’s giving up a seat in Congress to pursue a folly of a campaign for president.

Phillips told KSTP Chief Political Reporter Tom Hauser in a one-on-one interview he’s convinced President Biden can’t win reelection — and that someone needs to say it out loud if Democrats are going to defeat Trump.

Phillips: What has changed in 10 weeks is miraculous. We’ve gone from a few people at events to now 150, sometimes 200 people. Energized. Young people! For all the Democrats watching, finally, we have some options here to energize young people to participate. So I’m actually joyful in the fact we’re practicing democracy. I think we’re going to surprise tomorrow night, Tom.

Hauser: Do you have a metric by which you will gauge your success here in New Hampshire?

Phillips: If we were in the 20s, I think that would be a historic achievement. No name recognition, zero in the polls. Working hard here, pounding the pavement. If we’re in the 20s I think that would be great. But I think the number people should be paying attention to is Joe Biden. He’s an unelectable Democrat. Historically low approval numbers right now. Losing in every battleground state. Those are polls. This is the first time American voters will be opining on the president.

Hauser: What are you hearing from Minnesota Democrats? I know Ken Martin, the party chair, [is] not happy that you’re running, many of the rank and file Democrats. Have you pretty much given up on a future in elective office in the state of Minnesota?

Phillips: I have no intention or aspiration, and I will never run for governor of Minnesota. I will never run for Senate. I already told everybody I’m not running for reelection to Congress. I torpedoed my career with intention because I don’t want to see my entire country torpedoed. As they say in Washington, if you want a friend, get a dog. I’ve got two of ’em. Whether it is the people you just mentioned — Sen. Tina Smith, Ken Martin, Gov. [Tim] Walz, Lt. Gov. [Peggy] Flanagan — people I’ve had friendships with for a long time. What they’re doing actually is very helpful because they’re demonstrating what is so disgustingly wrong with politics and it’s actually helping boost my numbers with independents. I actually invite them to keep doing it.

Phillips campaigned from Manchester to Nashua on Monday, highlighting his anger at the Democratic party for trying to suppress his candidacy.

He even compared what the Democratic party is doing to him by trying to keep him off ballots to what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, when people stormed the Capitol to prevent the counting of votes.

Tom Hauser will have further coverage of the New Hampshire presidential primary on Tuesday.