Karl Bunday did everything he could to help Dean Phillips get elected to Congress in 2018, marching in parades, writing postcards in support of the Minnesota Democrat and even donating money.

Now, Bunday said he can hardly recognize the Phillips who's challenging President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination and he regrets his previous work for him.

"The tone is different. The tone is much more negative — it's not an 'everyone's invited,' it's 'you can't trust the system, the system's out to get us,'" said Bunday, 65, who lives in Minnetonka. "It sounds very Trump-y."

Susie Lewis, a Phillips supporter from Hopkins, sees it differently. In running for president, she said, Phillips is doing what he's always done: taking a principled stand for something he believes in.

"I understand that a lot of my friends — I'm a very active Democrat — are on the other side of this and angry [with Phillips]," said Lewis, 81, a longtime family friend of the congressman. "We all have a mutual purpose. … We just want to keep Trump out of the White House. And we have different ways of going about it."

Phillips' quixotic campaign for president has been met with a mix of anger and encouragement back home in his west-suburban congressional district. Some constituents support Phillips and share his concern that Biden is too old and politically unpopular to defeat former President Donald Trump a second time. Others are frustrated that the third-term congressman has missed House votes while campaigning and question why he's still running after resounding losses to Biden in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

"For him to think that he has the political capital, that he has even the support in his own district, that he's the right candidate to run, is delusional," said John Albers, a 64-year-old architect from Minnetonka who spent many hours volunteering for Phillips in 2018.

When Phillips won election to Congress that year, he became the first Democrat in six decades to represent Minnesota's Third District. The district has remained solidly blue since.

Phillips' support among Democrats has eroded since he decided to challenge an incumbent president from his own party. Besides some of his constituents, a number of Minnesota elected officials have criticized and mocked him as his presidential campaign has struggled to gain traction.

"Poor Dean," Democratic U.S. Sen. Tina Smith said in a video roasting Phillips, before he finished a distant third in South Carolina's primary on Feb. 3. "He took a real beating in New Hampshire, but he's staying on the ballot for South Carolina because you can't spell Phillips with only one L."

Phillips performed better in January in New Hampshire's primary, where he picked up about 20% of the vote. But he still ran far behind Biden: The president received 64% as a write-in candidate. Phillips will face the president again Tuesday in Michigan's primary, but he isn't expected to fare better after having spent little time campaigning in the state.

Phillips recently announced he was laying off many of his presidential campaign staff, saying he's struggled to raise money. Nevertheless, Phillips has vowed to keep on.

"I'll be proceeding with a volunteer based campaign in the 43 states in which I'm on the ballot, and will continue to advocate for a new generation of leaders and bold solutions to our challenges," he told the Star Tribune in a text message last week. "I still have paid staffers and will be traveling."

Asked about the criticisms from some of his constituents, Phillips said "it's no surprise every Democratic official and some of my own supporters" would be among those supporting Biden's re-election.

"I remain grateful to the many thousands who helped me become the first Democrat to win Minnesota's 3rd District since 1958," Phillips said in a statement.

Phillips will find out how much support he still has in his district on March 5, when Minnesota and a dozen other states hold their presidential primary elections on Super Tuesday.

George Serdar said he already has cast an early absentee ballot for Phillips. The Plymouth attorney said he likes Biden but worries about his electability. He rejected the notion of Phillips' campaign undermining the president's re-election, an argument made by many of Phillips' critics.

"I don't think it's undermining by stating the obvious," said Serdar, 77. "[Biden's] age is an obvious factor."

Another voter who says Phillips is doing the right thing is Bradley Schaeppi, a 46-year-old real estate attorney and former Minnetonka City Council member. He said he appreciates Phillips for encouraging a competitive Democratic primary, and he criticized elected Democrats in Minnesota who've ridiculed Phillips.

"There's a lot of pressure to agree in today's politics … and dissent within parties is frowned upon," Schaeppi said. "Why isn't there a single elected Democrat in any elected office who's said anything positive about Dean and why he's doing this?"

Julie Cole was once a fan of Phillips. She said she thought he was more accessible to constituents than the Congress member who served before him. But the 67-year-old from Minnetonka became angry with Phillips after he launched his presidential campaign and began missing votes in Congress.

Phillips has missed most of the votes taken by the House over the past few months, though he was present this month to vote twice against Republicans' impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Phillips defended his congressional voting record as being "almost perfect" before he ran for president. He said he promised House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries that he'd be there for votes when he's needed.

"Had I resigned my seat, Democrats would have lost a potentially consequential vote," Phillips said.

Even so, Cole said she's ready for a new Democrat to represent the district.

"It just seems like he has completely abdicated his responsibility for being our representative," she said.