Challenging an incumbent president in a primary is a longshot effort doomed to fail, if recent history is any indication.

Over the last 55 years, challengers who have run against sitting presidents from their own party failed to win the nomination that cycle.

Yet U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips confirmed recently that he has been urged to consider running for president in the 2024 Democratic primary even though President Joe Biden is seeking a second term.

Phillips, 54, is a third-term moderate who represents the suburban Third District. Heir to the Phillips Distilling Co. liquor fortune, he stresses bipartisanship and has a role in House Democratic leadership. All of that made the recent news surprising, even though Phillips has not endorsed Biden and called for competition in the primary earlier this year.

But modern presidential history doesn't provide a welcoming backdrop.

Minnesota U.S. Sen. Eugene McCarthy is famous for his 1968 New Hampshire primary campaign during a cycle when Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson later announced he was not running for another term. McCarthy didn't end up as the nominee during a chaotic cycle in which Robert F. Kennedy entered the race and was assassinated while campaigning.

Vice President Hubert Humphrey, a Minnesotan, won the Democratic nomination. But he lost to former Republican Vice President Richard Nixon that fall in a race where third party candidate George Wallace, former governor of Alabama, won some electoral votes. Nixon also easily overcame primary efforts against him in 1972 before a landslide general election win.

After Nixon resigned following the Watergate scandal, former California Gov. Ronald Reagan ran against GOP President Gerald Ford in the 1976 race. Ford won the primary and lost the general election to former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter.

Four years later, U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy unsuccessfully challenged Carter in the Democratic primary. Carter lost to Reagan in the 1980 general election.

During the 1992 cycle, GOP President George H. W. Bush fended off a challenge from Republican Pat Buchanan. In an unusual general election race featuring third-party candidate Ross Perot, Arkansas Democratic Gov. Bill Clinton ousted Bush.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich declined to challenge GOP President Donald Trump in a primary during the 2020 cycle. Yet lesser known former Republican office holders, including Bill Weld and Joe Walsh, entered the race over moral objections to Trump potentially winning another term. Trump easily won the GOP's nomination.

Walsh, a former Republican congressman from Illinois who supports Biden, said he views what Phillips is doing as "political positioning."

"Nobody knows who he is," Walsh said. "So to come out and do this, it looks like he's just trying to further his own personal career."

Biden, the oldest sitting president in U.S. history, would be 82 during a potential second inauguration. Some worry about the president's age, but making a generational change case against Biden didn't resonate during the 2020 cycle, when a young California congressman named Eric Swalwell charged during his short presidential run that Biden should "pass the torch" to a new generation.

While younger than Biden, Trump would turn 78 a few months before next year's general election. Biden is facing challenges from author Marianne Williamson and anti-vaccine voice Robert F. Kennedy Jr., though neither has shown any sign of enough support to keep Biden from winning his party's nomination.

Democratic leaders are supporting Biden amid deep worry in the party that Trump could return to power after he tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Despite being indicted several times, Trump remains the front runner in the GOP presidential race.

Asked about Phillips a few days after Politico broke the news, fellow centrist Democratic U.S. Rep. Angie Craig pointed out that she said last year it would be her "preference that the president not run for reelection and that the next generation of Democrats move forward."

"But the president has decided to run for re-election, so I am supporting the president, and I just think we can't leave any daylight between Joe Biden and whoever his Republican opponent [is]," Craig said. "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."

Staff writer Christopher Vondracek contributed to this story.