President Biden headed to Minnesota today to visit family farm

November 1, 2023

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is headed to Minnesota today to visit a family-run farm in Northfield and hold a fundraiser featuring many of the state’s top Democrats, aimed to demonstrate political clout on the home turf of his new 2024 primary challenger, Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips.

The president plans to announce more than $5 billion in spending on adapting agriculture to climate change, expanding high-speed internet access, improving local infrastructure, and more. The money comes from infrastructure and inflation reduction laws approved earlier in Biden’s term.

“The president is very cognizant of the fact that equity needs to be at the center of what we do and all that we do,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. He described the announcement as “an exciting opportunity to celebrate the importance of rural America.”

Phillips is a moderate, 54-year-old congressman from the largely well-to-do, comfortably Democratic Minneapolis suburbs. He has been saying since last year that Biden shouldn’t be seeking reelection and should instead step aside to make way for a new generation. He points to polls showing voters — even many Democrats — concerned about the 80-year-old president’s age and electability against Donald Trump, the former president and Republican front-runner.

Biden’s trip, coming so soon after Phillips’ announcement, will be an opportunity for the president to try to snuff out any potential support for his nascent primary challenger. Invited guests to Biden’s fundraiser include past donors to Phillips’ congressional campaigns, as well as Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz.

Phillips’ campaign will feel “almost like a cold glass of water being thrown in his face,” said Ken Martin, chair of Minnesota Democrats and a Democratic National Committee vice chair.

Martin is a friend of Phillips and recruited him to run for his House seat. But if Phillips believes that people are clamoring for alternatives to Biden, Martin said, “he may be alone in that thinking amongst Democratic Party leaders.”