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The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ordered state election officials to add Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) to the primary ballot in a blow to President Joe Biden’s campaign.
The state’s highest court found “that Democrats on a bipartisan presidential selection committee who left him off the ballot without a discussion should have at least talked about him,” The Associated Press reported.
The decision, which was unanimous, now means Biden will have a challenger who just happens to be from a neighboring state.
“Today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck a blow against the anti-democratic attempts by Biden allies to unlawfully keep Congressman Dean Phillips off the ballot,” Phillips campaign officials said in a statement. “Voters in Wisconsin will now have the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice.”
Phillips filed a lawsuit on January 26th, urging the Wisconsin Elections Commission to include his name on the ballot. His action was taken after Democratic leaders within the selection committee omitted him during a meeting on January 2nd, the AP noted further.
In his suit, Phillips argued that he qualified under Wisconsin law for ballot access, which states that a candidate must be “generally advocated or recognized in the national news media.” Attorneys for the Wisconsin Justice Department countered on behalf of the election commission that the panel has the sole power to decide who can be put on ballots.
The court determined that the committee did not exercise proper discretion. The Democrats had solely listed Biden as their candidate and quickly added him to the ballot without any substantial discussion during a brief five-minute meeting, the AP reported.
“We conclude that the Presidential Preference Selection Committee erroneously exercised its discretion under (state law) with respect to Phillips,” the ruling said.
Phillips’ campaign is a long shot to unseat Biden for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, but he’s the only elected Democrat out of many who believe Biden is too old for another term to jump into the race.
That said, a prominent strategist at JPMorgan Chase asserted last month that Biden will withdraw from the 2024 race before Election Day, implying that there may already be preparations in motion for such an eventuality.
Michael Cembalest, who leads the financial giant’s market and investment strategy unit in JPMorgan Chase’s asset management division, believes Biden, 81, will leave the race “sometime between Super Tuesday and the November election, citing health concerns.”
Super Tuesday, set for March 5, encompasses primary elections in over a dozen states, including California, Texas, Massachusetts, Vermont, and North Carolina. In the modern era, the candidate who secures the majority of Super Tuesday primaries is typically seen as the frontrunner and the eventual nominee of the party.
Cembalest justified his prediction by citing Biden’s taking approval rating, especially for a president who can claim “around 10% job creation since his inauguration,” though much if not most of that was caused by Americans returning to the workforce after lengthy COVID shutdowns, which Cembalest noted in a forecast letter to investors and clients.
He didn’t predict who would take Biden’s spot but predicted it would be “a replacement candidate named by the Democratic National Committee.”
Conventional wisdom points to Vice President Kamala Harris as the logical successor, but she faces significant unpopularity. According to the political analysis site FiveThirtyEight, her disapproval rating stands at 55%, surpassing even Biden’s level of unpopularity.
Biden is trailing Trump by margins ranging from four to ten percentage points in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, according to a recent battleground state survey. Biden led only in Wisconsin by two percentage points. Across the six battlegrounds—all of which Biden carried in 2020—the president trails by an average of 48 to 44 percent.