Dean Phillips

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Dean Phillips
Dean Phillips, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 3rd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byErik Paulsen
Personal details
Dean Benson Pfefer

(1969-01-20) January 20, 1969 (age 53)
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Karin Einisman
(m. 1995; div. 2015)

Annalise Glick
(m. 2019)
RelativesPauline Phillips (grandmother)
EducationBrown University (AB)
University of Minnesota (MBA)
WebsiteHouse website

Dean Benson Phillips[1] (born January 20, 1969)[2] is an American business magnate, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who has served as the U.S. Representative from Minnesota's 3rd congressional district since 2019.[3] The district encompasses the western suburbs of the Twin Cities, such as Edina, Maple Grove, Plymouth, and Eden Prairie. Phillips is a member of the Democratic Party.

Phillips was the president and CEO of the Phillips Distilling Company, an alcoholic beverage corporation his family started in 1912, for more than a decade.[4] He has also pursued other business ventures, formerly co-owning the gelato brand Talenti and helping establish a local coffeehouse chain.[5][6]

Phillips was elected to the House of Representatives in 2018, defeating six-term Republican incumbent Erik Paulsen in a competitive race.[7] Ending decades of Republican dominance, Phillips became the first Democrat to win an election in the district since 1958. He was reelected in 2020, beating Republican nominee Kendall Qualls.

With a net worth of $77 million in 2018, Phillips is one of the wealthiest members of Congress.[8]

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Phillips was born to DeeDee (Cohen) and Artie Pfefer in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1969.[9] Artie was killed in the Vietnam War when Dean was six months old. DeeDee later married Eddie Phillips, heir to the Phillips Distilling Company and the son of advice columnist Pauline Phillips.[10]

In the early 1970s, Phillips moved from Saint Paul to Edina, Minnesota. He attended The Blake School, where he played on the hockey and baseball teams.[11][12]

Phillips graduated from Brown University in 1991 and is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He worked for bicycle equipment and apparel company InMotion for two years, and then joined his family's company's corporate office. He later completed his Master of Business Administration at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management in 2000. After graduation, he was named the president and CEO of his family's organization, Phillips Distilling.[10]

Phillips served as the company's president and CEO from 2000 to 2012. He then stepped aside to run one of his other corporate investments, Talenti, until it was sold for an undisclosed amount to Unilever in 2014. Since 2016, he has been the founder and owner of Penny's Coffee, a coffeeshop chain with two locations in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area as of 2022.[13]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Phillips addresses the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party State Central Committee in 2018
Dean Phillips for Congress campaign booth at the Minnesota State Fair

In 2018, Phillips ran for the United States House of Representatives in Minnesota's 3rd congressional district as a Democrat.[14] In the Democratic primary, he defeated former sales associate Cole Young with 81.6% of the vote. Phillips won all three counties in the district.[15]

In the general election, Phillips defeated incumbent Republican Erik Paulsen with 55.6% of the vote.[16] When he took office in 2019, he became the first Democrat to hold this seat since 1961.


Phillips ran for reelection in 2020. He defeated Cole Young in the Democratic primary with 90.7% of the vote[17] and faced off against the Republican nominee, businessman Kendall Qualls.[18] Phillips defeated Qualls with 55.6% of the vote.[19]


Phillips was unopposed in the Democratic primary. He will face the Republican nominee, retired U.S. Navy submarine officer Tom Weiler, in the general election.


According to FiveThirtyEight's congressional vote tracker at ABC News, Phillips voted with President Joe Biden's stated public policy positions 100% of the time,[20] making him more liberal than average in the 117th Congress when predictive scoring (district partisanship and voting record) is used.[21] During the start of his first term in 2019, the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University placed him 27th out of 435 members in terms of bipartisanship.[22]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Electoral history[edit]

Phillips speaking at an event in June 2022
Democratic primary results, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic (DFL) Dean Phillips 56,697 81.6
Democratic (DFL) Cole Young 12,784 18.4
Total votes 69,481 100.0
Minnesota's 3rd congressional district, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic (DFL) Dean Phillips 202,402 55.6
Republican Erik Paulsen (incumbent) 160,839 44.2
Write-in 707 0.2
Total votes 363,948 100
Democratic (DFL) gain from Republican
Democratic primary results, 2020[25]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic (DFL) Dean Phillips (incumbent) 73,011 90.7
Democratic (DFL) Cole Young 7,443 9.3
Total votes 80,454 100.0
Minnesota's 3rd congressional district, 2020[26]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic (DFL) Dean Phillips (incumbent) 246,666 55.6
Republican Kendall Qualls 196,625 44.3
Write-in 312 0.1
Total votes 443,603 100

Personal life[edit]

Phillips is married and has two daughters from a previous marriage. He is Jewish[27] and was acknowledged by the Minnesota publication The American Jewish World for serving on the board of Temple Israel in Minneapolis.[28]

Phillips's paternal grandmother Pauline Phillips was the author of the advice column "Dear Abby," under the pen name Abigail Van Buren.[29]


  1. ^ "PAGE BY PAGE REPORT DISPLAY FOR 12951451573 (Page 196 of 371)". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  2. ^ "Candidate Conversation - Dean Phillips (DFL) - News & Analysis - Inside Elections". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  3. ^ Coolican, J. Patrick (May 9, 2017). "Minnesota liquor heir hopes to parlay business career into congressional bid". Star Tribune. Retrieved August 15, 2022.
  4. ^ "Phillips liquor heir, Dear Abby's grandson launches bid to unseat Congressman Erik Paulsen". Twin Cities. May 16, 2017. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  5. ^ Monroe, Nancy Weingartner. "Dean Philip's Running For Office While Running Penny's". Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  6. ^ "Vodka and Gelato Tycoon Challenging Minnesota's Erik Paulsen". Roll Call. May 16, 2017. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  7. ^ "In competitive Third District race, Erik Paulsen, Dean Phillips clash at second debate". AP NEWS. October 5, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  8. ^ "The Wealthiest Members of Congress—And How They Made Their Millions – Fortune". Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  9. ^ "MN-03: Dean Phillips (D)". November 6, 2018. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Erica Rivera (January 24, 2018). "Can charming liquor heir Dean Phillips beat Erik Paulsen, Minnesota's corporate congressman?". City Pages. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  11. ^ Retrieved May 21, 2021. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Dean Phillips". Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  13. ^ Mandelbaum, Robb. "He Sold Americans On Small Luxuries Like Gelato. Can He Sell His Minnesota Nice Politics?". Forbes. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  14. ^ "Democrat Phillips defeats incumbent Paulsen in Minnesota's Third District". Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  15. ^ "Minnesota Primary Election Results: Third House District". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  16. ^ "MN Election Results". Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  17. ^ "Official Canvassing Report". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  18. ^ Orrick, Dave (July 29, 2019). "A black Republican is running for Congress in the metro suburbs. What does he think of Trump?". Twin Cities Pioneer Press. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  19. ^ "Results for All Congressional Districts". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  20. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  21. ^ Wiederkehr, Anna; Bycoffe, Aaron (April 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  22. ^ "The Lugar Center - McCourt School Bipartisan Index House Scores 116th Congress First Session (2019)" (PDF). Georgetown University. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  23. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  24. ^ "Minnesotans in Congress get troubling look at U.S.-Mexico border". Star Tribune.
  25. ^ "Unofficial Results Tuesday, August 11, 2020". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  26. ^ "Unofficial Results Tuesday, November 3, 2020". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  27. ^ "Dean Phillips & The Road To November 2018". May 30, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  28. ^ "Dear Abby asked Dean Phillips for advice". July 25, 2018. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  29. ^ Alberta, Tim. "The Democrats' Dilemma". Politico. Retrieved April 1, 2019.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 3rd congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by