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St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter has endorsed Ron Harris, a former employee of the city of Minneapolis, in a political primary bid against U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, a Minnesota Democrat running a centrist campaign against U.S. President Joe Biden in the party’s upcoming presidential primary in New Hampshire.
Harris is a former chief resilience officer for Minneapolis, where he was active in efforts to expand paid sick leave to workers throughout the city. He is a current member of the Democratic National Committee’s executive committee and chairs the party’s Midwestern Caucus. Harris graduated in 2012 from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a degree in political science and government and was active in the Black Student Association and College Democrats.
Harris, a staunch Biden supporter, announced his candidacy as Phillips was publicly considering his presidential challenge.
“I’ve seen how hard Ron works for his community — building strong coalitions to advance our values,” said Carter, in a written statement released by the Harris campaign on Wednesday. “We can count on Ron to deliver for all of us and I’m excited to see him in Congress.”
On Oct. 27, Carter shared a similar sentiment on his personal social media account on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, writing, “Today is a beautiful day to endorse my friend @ronharrismn for Congress!”
In 2018, Phillips, 54, unseated U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, a six-term Republican incumbent, to represent the 3rd Congressional district, which spans the Twin Cities western suburbs of and around Anoka, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, Maple Grove, Minnetonka and Plymouth.
Raised in St. Paul, Phillips attended the Blake School, Brown University and the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management before running his family’s liquor business, the Phillips Distilling Company, and later Talenti gelato and Penny’s Coffee. He’s considered one of the richest members of Congress.
Appearing in New Hampshire on Friday, Phillips announced he would seek the Democratic nomination in the party’s political primary there, quickly drawing him the label of a last-minute longshot candidate. The primary, which has yet to be scheduled, will likely be held in late January or early February.
Biden was in Minnesota on Wednesday. The presidential election will be held in November 2024, when Phillips would also be up for re-election.