What to know about Democratic presidential candidate Dean Phillips

He's a Minnesota lawmaker challenging Biden.

January 11, 2024, 3:32 PM

This is part of a series on the 2024 presidential candidates.

Dean Phillips was born on Jan. 20, 1969, in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Phillips, a Democrat, is a businessman who has been in the House since 2019. He was elected to represent Minnesota's 3rd congressional district, a suburban district that had long been represented by Republicans, in 2018.

Phillips launched his campaign challenging incumbent President Joe Biden on the steps of the New Hampshire Statehouse on Oct. 27, 2023. The date was the last day to file on the New Hampshire primary ballot, an option the Biden campaign decided to forego, noting that New Hampshire did not comply with the primary calendar presented by the Democratic National Committee.

The long shot Democratic contender said his campaign is motivated in part by his belief that former President Donald Trump would win in a hypothetical rematch against Biden.

Throughout his campaign, the Minnesota Democrat has suggested that he's saying the quiet part out loud -- alluding that Americans don't want a rematch of Trump vs. Biden and are hopeful for change. Phillips -- a self-funded candidate -- also said he believes that Biden is simply too old to run for reelection. Although he encouraged others such as Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to run, the politicians reportedly didn't take his phone call, leading him to throw his hat in the ring.

Phillips voted with Biden 100% of the time, according to 538's congressional vote tracker. Phillips has been extremely complimentary of Biden in the past and accepted the president's endorsement when he ran for office to unseat an incumbent Republican back in 2018.

On Nov. 24, 2023, Phillips announced that he would not run for reelection in Minnesota.

Phillips was born and raised in Minnesota. He left the state to attend Brown University, but returned to earn his MBA from University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Business.

His business background led him to eventually take over the family's business, Phillips Distilling Company, most famously known for UV Vodka and Belvedere. Following his stint in the spirits industry, Phillips founded Talenti Gelato. It was sold to Unilever in 2014. After the sale, Phillips continued his entrepreneurial path, opening up a small business, Penny's Coffee, in the Twin Cities.

Phillips prides himself as being a family man. His father, Artie, was a captain in the U.S. Army and died in the Vietnam War when Phillips was 6 months old. Phillips has worn his father's identification tags on the campaign trail.

His mother later married Eddie Phillips, heir to the Phillips Distilling Company and the son of advice columnist Pauline Phillips -- famously known as "Dear Abby."

He has also raised two daughters, Daniela and Pia. He is married to his wife, Annalise. Together, they reside in Minnesota. Phillips is Jewish and serves on the board of Temple Israel in Minneapolis.