Top Democrats in Minnesota are not welcoming a possible presidential run by their colleague, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, saying the party needs to unite behind President Joe Biden ahead of a potential rematch against Donald Trump.

Phillips, who represents the suburban Third District, is calling for competition against the incumbent Biden in the Democratic primary and hasn't ruled out running himself. By doing so, Phillips is isolating himself from leading Democrats in the state who are adamantly backing Biden's re-election campaign.

"Congressman Phillips is a good congressman, great congressman," DFL Gov. Tim Walz said in an interview. "I appreciate him; he's a friend of mine. President Biden's our nominee. He's the president. He is going to win. And I think all of us just stay in our lanes, do our work and things will work out well."

Phillips confirmed to the Star Tribune in late July that he's being urged to consider running. He has not said who is urging him to run, saying in a text message that naming names would violate trust. The 54-year-old has not made a decision yet about whether he will enter the race.

"Staying in one's lane is very important on the highway. It is not helpful in politics," Phillips said in an interview Wednesday. "And in a very significant way, that is exactly what I'm trying to point out and the conversation that I'm trying to inspire. We have too many people who stay in their lanes, stay in their seats and stay quiet at times where we need them to stand up and be loud. And I think this is one of those times."

Phillips pointed to a July New York Times poll that found 50% of Democratic primary voters would prefer to nominate a new candidate for president next year, compared with 45% who want to see Biden re-nominated. Among Democratic primary voters younger than 30, 80% said they'd prefer a different nominee.

Biden is the oldest sitting president in U.S. history. If he were to win in 2024, Biden would be inaugurated for another four-year term at the age of 82.

Also looming over the 2024 race is the potential that Trump could return to office. The former president is the front-runner in the GOP primary field even after being charged in several cases, including over the failed attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis was critical of Phillips in a statement Wednesday, saying a primary campaign from him could weaken Biden's re-election bid.

"It's irresponsible to have a candidate who could possibly guarantee Trump's re-election and destroy any path to progress," she said.

Omar, who has clashed with Phillips at times, said that "with the threat of a second Trump presidency or a DeSantis presidency, we need to be unified behind President Biden and Vice President Harris and celebrate our accomplishments as Democrats."

Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum, the longest-serving member of Minnesota's current congressional delegation, said in a statement that "Phillips is a valued colleague and friend, but my focus is squarely on re-electing President Biden and taking back a Democratic majority in the U.S. House" in 2024.

"Democrats need to stand united if we are going to defeat the MAGA Trump movement and govern this country responsibly," McCollum said.

The chance of Trump winning in 2024 isn't lost on Phillips, who said that he is "100% aligned with Democrats, independents and a lot of Republicans who are focused on ensuring that Donald Trump doesn't come close to the White House again."

Asked if Biden is the best option for Democrats to beat Trump, Phillips said "we will never know if we do not vet alternatives."

Recent history suggests that if Phillips were to challenge the incumbent Biden, the Minnesotan would likely fail. Dating back to 1968, challengers who have run against sitting presidents from their own party have not won the nomination that same cycle.

Time is also running short to mount a 2024 run given the fundraising power and staffing needed to be a viable candidate.

"I do believe mid-September is a reasonable time for me to continue to have these conversations, inspire others, and then if not, make that decision myself," Phillips said.

Phillips said he wants "to inspire those who are well positioned to jump into a primary." The odds of that happening appear slim.

Biden is already facing primary challenges from author Marianne Williamson and anti-vaccine voice Robert F. Kennedy Jr., but neither is viewed as major competition.

Democratic Rep. Angie Craig noted recently that while she had once said it was her "preference that the president not run for reelection and that the next generation of Democrats move forward," she's now supporting Biden's 2024 run.

"It is a waste of energy at this point and time [to oppose him as a Democrat] and, frankly, money that should be put into helping Joe Biden win re-election," Craig said.

When asked about the potential of Phillips running in 2024, several other prominent Democrats expressed support for Biden's re-election through their spokespersons.

A spokesman for Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who ran a presidential primary campaign during the 2020 cycle, said that "while Senator Klobuchar and Congressman Phillips work well together, he has not called her about this. She is supporting President Biden."

Similarly, a spokesman for Democratic Sen. Tina Smith said in an email she "strongly supports the re-election of Joe Biden."

And a spokesman for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said Ellison supports Biden and "worries that injecting doubts about the President's electability helps Trump."

Phillips maintains that there are others better positioned to run for president. But as he continues to get national attention over entertaining a run, Phillips said "there is a lot of pressure, a lot of arrows being shot in my direction," as well as more support and encouragement than he had imagined.

"I will take the arrows, I will take the insults, because I didn't run for Congress to stay in my lane," Phillips said.

Staff writer Christopher Vondracek contributed to this story.