CONCORD, N.H. - The clock is ticking for Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who's seriously mulling a 2024 Democratic primary challenge against President Biden.
Phillips last week missed a 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.
Now the millionaire businessman and co-founder of a gelato company turned three-term House Democrat has until the end of business on Friday to place his name on the ballot in New Hampshire, which for a century's held the first primary along the road to the White House.
As of late last week, neither Phillips nor anyone from his team has reached out to the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office to schedule a time to file.
Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who's mulling a 2024 Democratic presidential primary challenge against President Biden, speaks at a news conference in Washington, D.C., on December 21, 2020. (REUTERS/Ken Cedeno)
But a Democratic consulting firm that may be working with Philips obtained a permit to hold an event on Friday in the plaza outside New Hampshire's Statehouse, Politico reported this past weekend. The report sparked speculation that the congressman would travel to New Hampshire on Friday to announce a primary challenge against the president.
Phillips, citing the 80-year-old president's age, has repeatedly 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.
President Biden (L) and Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn. (R) (Fox News)
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.
Last week Fox News confirmed that Phillips had reached out to some veteran Democratic operatives - both nationally and in New Hampshire. The developments — first reported by Politico and The Messenger — were another sign Phillips is taking steps towards a potential primary challenge against Biden.
Phillips also spoke 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 last week.
Buckley added that he "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! "
Fox News reached out to Phillips but he hadn't responded at the time this article was published.
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.
Democratic presidential candidate and author Marianne Williamson speaks after filing to put her name on the ballot for the primary election with New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan in Concord, New Hampshire, U.S., October 12, 2023. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
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.
Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speaks during a campaign event at Independence Mall, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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.
President Joe Biden speaks at the Democratic National Committee Winter Meeting, Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP )
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."