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Democratic presidential candidate announces campaign layoffs, vows to remain in race: ‘really tough day’

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Democratic presidential candidate Dean Phillips announced Friday that he had to lay off “a lot” of his campaign staff as he faces difficulties raising enough cash to operate his campaign the way he wants to, but said he will remain in the race for the White House.

“I found it almost impossible to raise enough to do this campaign the way I want. And today, sadly, I had to announce layoffs to a lot of my staff members,” Phillips, who currently represents Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District in the House, said in a video shared to X.

Describing those he laid off as “amazing people who gave up a lot personally and a lot professionally” to help his campaign, Phillips said it was a “really tough day” between himself and those who were let go.

Despite the layoffs, Phillips vowed to remain in the race, insisting that’s a “promise” he made to those who are no longer working on his campaign.

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Dean Phillips

Despite the layoffs, Phillips vowed to remain in the race, insisting that’s a “promise” he made to those who are no longer working on his campaign. (Mel Musto/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“I made a promise to them, and I’m gonna make it to you,” he continued. “I’m not giving up. I’m going to continue. I’m on ballots in 43 states, our country is desperate for change.”

“We can be hopeful again, we can be optimistic again, and we can celebrate America again. But we gotta do it together,” he added.

Speaking to his supporters in the video, Phillips said, “I’m going to continue this journey as long as you want this journey continued.”

The video of Phillips featured repeated pleas for financial support for his campaign, which has struggled in recent weeks as incumbent President Biden strengthens his hold on Democratic voters.

“I love you all and thank you for keeping the faith,” he said. “Join me, the Dean team, we can do it.”

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Dean Phillips

Democratic presidential candidate Dean Phillips speaks to supporters during a campaign rally on January 22, 2024, in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Phillips, who announced he was entering the 2024 White House race with a long-shot Democratic primary challenge against Biden last October, has so far struggled against the president in a handful of key, early-voting states.

In the New Hampshire Democratic primary election last month, Phillips garnered 20% of the vote, compared to Biden who earned 64% as a write-in-candidate. In the South Carolina Democratic primary election earlier this month, Phillips was wiped out by Biden who earned 96% of the vote. Phillips failed to clear 2% support in that election and was also topped by Marianne Williamson, who ended her campaign last week.

Phillips is set to go up against Biden again this month in the Feb. 27 Michigan Democratic primary election.

Following Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report this month that found Biden struggled to remember basic events in his life, Phillips said Biden’s “decline” was clear.

The report outlined instances where Biden had a difficult time remembering key details and events, including when he served as vice president and the exact date his son, Beau, died.

Dean Phillips and Joe Biden

Following Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report this month that found President Biden struggled to remember basic events in his life, Phillips said Biden’s “decline” was clear. (Getty Images)

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“Anybody who has their eyes open can see what’s going on,” Phillips said of Biden. “I think it’s a shame. I think it’s embarrassing. And I think it’s sad. And I think it’s a shame for a president who could cement a legacy, pass the torch and do what’s best for the country. It’s not just about him.”

“[W]e all see with our own eyes his speeches and the decline. He’s an 81-year-old man,” Phillips said, adding that Biden would serve until 2029 if he were re-elected.

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