Biden beats long-shot challenger Dean Phillips in the congressman’s home state of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — President Joe Biden dealt challenger Dean Phillips a Super Tuesday defeat in the Minnesota congressman’s home state, while former President Donald Trump beat Nikki Haley in the state’s Republican primary.

Minnesota has 75 Democratic and 39 Republican national convention delegates. But as one of the smaller of 16 states and one territory holding Super Tuesday primaries, Minnesota received little attention — even from Phillips, who represents a congressional district in the Minneapolis suburbs but enjoyed hardly any home-field advantage.

Haley was the only candidate to put in an in-person campaign appearance. Her rally at a Bloomington hotel last week drew several hundred people, but it wasn’t enough for her to catch up to Trump.

For Phillips, the only elected Democrat to challenge Biden in their party’s primary, the results from Minnesota and other Super Tuesday states extended his string of defeats.

“While Democratic Party loyalists are clearly, consistently, and overwhelmingly registering their preference for Joe Biden, it doesn’t alter the reality which compelled me to enter the race in the first place; Donald Trump is increasingly likely to defeat him in November,” Phillips said in a statement. “I’ll be assessing tonight’s results and all available data over the coming days before making a decision about how I can best help prevent that tragedy.”

Among nearly two dozen interviews conducted by The Associated Press over three days with Democratic voters in Phillips’ own district ahead of the primary, the three-term representative got barely a mention. Beating Trump was the most common theme they expressed.

At a public library in suburban Eden Prairie on Tuesday, Molly Menton said she didn’t consider voting for Phillips even though he’s her congressman, saying he’s less qualified than Biden. Menton, a health care executive who leans “pretty progressive,” said her top priorities are nominating liberal judges, gun control and climate change.

Eden Prairie retirees Chuck and Carol Thomas, who formerly worked as creative directors in advertising, also said after voting that they never considered voting for Phillips. Biden has wisdom, experience and a track record of beating Trump, Chuck Thomas said.

The Biden campaign last week sent Doug Emhoff, Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband. He appeared at a fundraiser, visited Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to highlight the administration’s investments in transportation infrastructure, and paid his respects to three slain first responders in Burnsville.

Trump didn’t visit Minnesota for the primary, but he raised eyebrows during a phone interview with KNSI radio in St. Cloud on Monday when he claimed that he thought he won the state in the 2020 general election, echoing his false claims that he was the rightful winner nationwide.

Trump actually lost Minnesota by more than 7 percentage points to Biden, but he came within 1.5 points of defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, and told KNSI he intends to take a “big shot” at winning the state this November. No Republican presidential candidate has carried Minnesota since Richard Nixon in 1972.

Pam Hulstrand, of Eden Prairie, voted on the Republican side — for Haley.

“It’s time for a woman,” Hulstrand said. She said Haley is a new leader with experience and confidence. “The fact that she’s not giving up says a lot about her resiliency,” she said.

Hulstrand, a minister, also said she likes Haley’s conservative stance on “moral issues.” But she also said she’s prepared to vote for Trump in November, if it comes to that.

At Crosspoint Church in the next-door suburb of Bloomington, Craig Brandt said he voted for Trump, “because I think he’s the best hope we have for getting our country back on track.”

Sarah Alfaham, of Bloomington, said she voted “uncommitted” in the Democratic primary, as many anti-war and Muslim activists locally and nationally have urged. She said and doesn’t know for whom she’ll vote in November, except that it won’t be Trump. But she said she’s so disappointed with Biden that she might consider a third-party candidate.

“I believe that the war in Gaza, and the genocide that Israel is committing, is unacceptable,” Alfaham said. “And Joe Biden has not done enough to earn my vote and not done enough to stop the war, stop the massacre.”


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