Politics

BREAKING: Dem Challenger Dean Phillips Gains Ballot Access Win via Wisconsin Ruling, After Biden Embarrassed in NH

You’ve got to hand it to Democrat Congressman Dean Phillips from Minnesota. Though the machinations of his own party have not been quiet about working to keep him from prevailing against President Joe Biden in the Democrat presidential primary race for 2024, he continues to insist that he’s in this thing for the long game.

When we last peered into the race, just over a week ago, Phillips predicted that he would surprise people in New Hampshire. He said he would be thrilled if he reached “in the 20s,” and created a high hurdle for his opponent, saying Biden would need to reach “the 81% or 84%” of previous incumbent Democrat presidents.

My colleague Nick Arama wrote:

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), Biden’s main challenger, outlined what he thought would be good for him and bad for Biden at the end of the day.

Phillips told NBC News: “If we’re in the ’20s, that would be extraordinary.”

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But Phillips said Biden should be disappointed with anything less than the 81% or 84% won by former Democratic presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton when they ran for re-election in 2012 and 1996, respectively.

RedState reported that Phillips matched his expectations in the Granite State, at 19.6 percent of the vote, while Biden was embarrassed with just 63.9 percent.

Now, Rep, Phillips and his scrappy campaign have notched another victory against the forces within his party in another state, as the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on Friday that Democrats on a state ballot board improperly left his name off the upcoming primary ballot:

The unanimous ruling claimed Democrats on the bipartisan presidential selection committee should have held a discussion about including Phillips. The court’s decision means the long-shot candidate will appear on the April 2 primary ballot against President Biden, The Associated Press reported.[…]

In December, Phillips said he would challenge the Democratic National Committee and several states — including Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee — for leaving him, and other Democratic candidates, off the ballots.

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He filed a lawsuit Jan. 26 with the Wisconsin Elections Commission, demanding his name be added after he was excluded following a Jan. 2 meeting, the AP reported.

Phillips argued he met the criteria in the state for ballot access, which states that a candidate must be “generally advocated or recognized in the national news media.”

But the Wisconsin Justice Department argued, on the committee’s behalf, “that the committee has sole discretion to decide who gets on the ballot.” The state Supreme Court disagreed, all but calling out the Democrats for arrogantly skirting state election laws:

The court found that the committee failed to properly exercise any discretion. Democrats listed Biden as their only candidate and approved adding him to the ballot without any discussion during a meeting that last only five minutes.

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“We conclude that the Presidential Preference Selection Committee erroneously exercised its discretion under (state law) with respect to Phillips,” the ruling said.

This likely is not the last we’ll learn from Phillips, as I mentioned. Not only are there other states he says he’s planning to challenge over being left off the ballot, but he’s in it for “as long as it takes” to face former President Donald Trump one-on-one in the general election.

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dean Phillips (Minn.) backtracked from his original plan of suspending his campaign by March 5 if he didn’t gain traction, saying Tuesday he will stay in the race “as long as it takes” to have a match-up with former President Trump.

“I’m recognizing that there is an immense need to keep this challenge going,” Phillips said on CNN’s “This Morning.”

You don’t get much more gutsy than that. Wisconsin’s primary takes place on Apr. 2.

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