Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips will not run for re-election to the U.S. House as he goes all in on his insurgent primary campaign against President Joe Biden.

Phillips told the Star Tribune in an interview that he intends to "pass the torch" to another Democrat, just as he has asked Biden to do for him or another presidential candidate. Running for president does not prevent Phillips from seeking re-election to his House seat, since Minnesota's filing deadline for Congress isn't until early June.

"The fact is, I intend to be running for president well beyond that," Phillips said, adding that he thinks "it would be irresponsible to continue to string both my constituents along and the other candidates who both have entered the race and who might be interested in entering the race."

The third-term congressman's decision leaves Minnesota's Third Congressional District seat up for grabs. DFL state Sen. Kelly Morrison, who's also a practicing OB-GYN, and Democratic National Committee member Ron Harris have both announced campaigns for Phillips' congressional seat. And DFL Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon recently said he would consider a run if Phillips left his seat.

Morrison and Harris thanked Phillips for his service in separate statements Friday.

"It's time for a new generation of leadership to take on the apathy and cynicism in our politics, fix what's broken in our system, and stand up for working families," Harris said.

Morrison said if elected, she would be "the only pro-choice OB-GYN in Congress. I led the fight to protect abortion rights in Minnesota, and now I want to take that fight to Congress."

No prominent Republicans have announced campaigns for the seat yet. Phillips became the first Democrat in more than 50 years to represent Minnesota's Third District, which encompasses suburbs west of the Twin Cities, when he was elected in 2018.

He praised both Morrison and Harris as strong "next-generation candidates" but said he would not endorse anyone in the race.

"There are great candidates waiting. I think one of our problems in the United States right now is the unwillingness of people in positions of power ... to pass the torch," Phillips said.

The Minnesota Democrat easily won re-election in 2020 and 2022 and was elected to a House Democratic leadership role by his peers last year. But the goodwill that Phillips built with his fellow Democrats started eroding after he called for Biden not to run for re-election.

Leading Democrats in both Washington, D.C., and Minnesota have criticized Phillips for challenging Biden. Phillips stepped down from his House Democratic leadership post last month.

Returning to Congress after everything that's transpired, Phillips said, would be "both unproductive and uncomfortable, and that plays a role as well."

"It became very difficult for me to comport congregating on a daily basis with people who I think know better and should be doing better, and that's the truth," Phillips said. "And I say that with affection for my friendships but disappointment in principle."

He insists that Democrats are "sleepwalking into an unmitigated disaster next November," with polls showing Biden trailing former President Donald Trump in some key battleground states.

"If I'm the only one saying the quiet part out loud, then so be it," Phillips said. "We need more people willing to torpedo their careers."

Many Democrats in Minnesota saw Phillips as a rising star in the party before he began publicly raising doubts about Biden's re-election. Some speculated he would one day run for governor or U.S. Senate.

Phillips made a point to address that speculation in the interview.

"I had no aspiration to run for governor, I had no aspiration to run for Senate," he said. And I'm making it very clear right now: Never aspired to it and never will run for either of those things. Ever."

The congressman said he thinks that's exactly what's wrong with America's political system: People making a career out of politics and shutting others out from seeking office. "It is stifling democracy and it has got to change," he said.

Reflecting on his nearly five years in Congress, Phillips described it as a "paradox."

"On one hand, the most frustrating, soul-sucking, horrifying discovery of my life," he said. "And on the other hand, the most joyful, inspiring, remarkable and purposeful experience of my lifetime as well."

He said he was dismayed by the chamber's dysfunctionality, its lack of bipartisanship and its members who prioritized fundraising over relationship-building. He tried to remedy it by hosting bipartisan dinners at his home and helping lead the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, he said.

Yet on the positive side, Phillips said he was proud to have worked on the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, signed into law by Trump. And he loved meeting with his constituents and discovering new things about his congressional district, even going on-the-job at some local businesses to hear their challenges firsthand.

"This district embodies everything that the country needs to be inspired by: Thoughtfulness, disagreeing without being disagreeable, the most civically engaged district in the entire country as it relates to voter turnout," Phillips said. "This is a beautiful example of America right here."