Phillips said he has also reached out to potential staffers in the state.
The Minnesota Democrat has regularly called for Biden to face a 2024 primary challenger, criticizing the president for not “pass[ing] the torch” to the next generation of Democratic leaders. Phillips withdrew from House Democratic leadership earlier this month, amid concern that his flirtation with a primary bid was causing a distraction. He has met with Democratic donors over the summer about a potential run.
“He’s doing the things you would do if you’re running — or if you’ve not officially decided and you’re trying to check what the reception would be,” said a New Hampshire Democrat operative, granted anonymity to discuss the issue candidly.
Buckley declined to comment on the call.
But Phillips will need to decide quickly, as the deadline to file for New Hampshire’s presidential primary is in two weeks.
Phillips’ moves in New Hampshire come on the heels of the state losing its status as the first-in-the-nation primary after the Democratic National Committee revamped the presidential nominating calendar. Earlier this month, the DNC declared New Hampshire as “non-compliant” because of the state’s plans to host its own primary ahead of South Carolina, which is now the first presidential nominating state during the 2024 presidential cycle.
New Hampshire Democrats plan to lead a write-in campaign for Biden, but Phillips’ entry could complicate that effort. Marianne Williamson, who ran for president in 2020, is also running. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who was running as a Democrat and had gained some polling traction in New Hampshire, switched to run as an independent this week.
Jim Demers, a political consultant who is helping to lead the write-in effort for Biden, called Phillips’ run “a ridiculous idea.”
“Democrats in New Hampshire support Biden, so if his mission is to divide Democrats and help Donald Trump, then that’s what he’s doing,” Demers said.
Phillips, meanwhile, drew his own primary challenger this week when Ron Harris, a DNC executive committee member, announced a bid for Phillips’ congressional seat.