Dean Benson Phillips[1] (born January 20, 1969)[2] is an American businessman and politician from Minnesota. Phillips is a political moderate.[3] A member of the Democratic Party, he has represented Minnesota’s 3rd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2019. The district includes most of the western suburbs of the Twin Cities, such as Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Plymouth, and Wayzata.

Phillips is the founder and CEO of the small local coffee shop chain Penny’s.[4][5]

Early life, education, and career

Phillips was born to DeeDee (Cohen) and Artie Pfefer in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1969.[6] 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 son of advice columnist Pauline Phillips.[3]

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.[7][8]

He 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 the family company. He completed his Master of Business Administration at the University of Minnesota in 2000, and was named president of Phillips Distilling.[3] He now lives in Deephaven.

Phillips, a long time moderate, has supported both Democratic and Republican candidates (such as Governor Arne Carlson and Senator Mark Dayton).[9]

U.S. House of Representatives



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.[10] 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.[11]

In the general election, Phillips defeated incumbent Republican Erik Paulsen with 55.6% of the vote.[12] 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[13] and faced off against the Republican nominee, businessman Kendall Qualls.[14] Phillips defeated Qualls with 55.6% of the vote.[15]


A political moderate, Phillips has a bipartisan record. According to the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, he held a Bipartisan Index Score of 1.1 in the 116th United States Congress for 2019, placing him 27th out of 435 members.[16] Based on FiveThirtyEight's congressional vote tracker at ABC News, Phillips voted with President Donald Trump‘s stated public policy positions 5.5% of the time,[17] which ranked him average in the 116th Congress when predictive scoring (district partisanship and voting record) is used.[18]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

Democratic primary results, 2018
Democratic (DFL) Dean Phillips 56,697 81.6
Democratic (DFL)Cole Young12,78418.4
Total votes69,481 100.0
Minnesota’s 3rd congressional district, 2018
Democratic (DFL) Dean Phillips 202,402 55.6
RepublicanErik Paulsen (incumbent)160,83944.2
Total votes363,948 100
Democratic (DFL) gain from Republican
Democratic primary results, 2020[21]
Democratic (DFL) Dean Phillips (incumbent) 73,011 90.7
Democratic (DFL)Cole Young7,4439.3
Total votes80,454 100.0
Minnesota’s 3rd congressional district, 2020[22]
Democratic (DFL) Dean Phillips (incumbent) 246,666 55.6
RepublicanKendall Qualls196,62544.3
Total votes443,603 100

Personal life

Phillips is married and has two daughters from a previous marriage. He is Jewish[23] and was acknowledged by the Minnesota publication The American Jewish World for serving on the board of Temple Israel in Minneapolis.[24] Phillips donated to several Republican campaigns and served as an advisor to Republican Congressman Jim Ramstad before running for Congress as a Democrat in 2018.[16]

Phillips’s paternal grandmother Pauline Phillips was the author of the advice column “Dear Abby,” under the pen name Abigail Van Buren.[25]


  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. ^ a b c Erica Rivera (January 24, 2018). “Can charming liquor heir Dean Phillips beat Erik Paulsen, Minnesota’s corporate congressman?”. City Pages. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  4. ^ “Locations”. Penny’s Coffee. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  5. ^ “Get to Know Dean Phillips”. Phillips for Congress. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  6. ^ “MN-03: Dean Phillips (D)”. November 6, 2018. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  7. ^ Retrieved May 21, 2021. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ “Dean Phillips”. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  9. ^ Carlson, Arne. “Letter: Former Republican governor endorses Dean Phillips”. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  10. ^ “Democrat Phillips defeats incumbent Paulsen in Minnesota’s Third District”. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  11. ^ “Minnesota Primary Election Results: Third House District”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  12. ^ “MN Election Results”. Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  13. ^ “Official Canvassing Report”. Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ “Results for All Congressional Districts”. Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  16. ^ a b “The Lugar Center – McCourt School Bipartisan Index House Scores 116th Congress First Session (2019)” (PDF). Georgetown University. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  17. ^ “Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump – Dean Phillips”. ABC News. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  18. ^ “Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump”. ABC News. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  19. ^ “Members”. New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  20. ^ “Minnesotans in Congress get troubling look at U.S.-Mexico border”. Star Tribune.
  21. ^ “Unofficial Results Tuesday, August 11, 2020”. Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  22. ^ “Unofficial Results Tuesday, November 3, 2020”. Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  23. ^ “Dean Phillips & The Road To November 2018”. May 30, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  24. ^ “Dear Abby asked Dean Phillips for advice”. July 25, 2018. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  25. ^ Alberta, Tim. “The Democrats’ Dilemma”. Retrieved April 1, 2019.

External links

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