Who Is Joe Biden's Democratic Challenger, Dean Phillips?

President Joe Biden is seeking another term in the White House, and while he might be in the lead amongst Democrats, Biden seems to have some competition. Dean Phillips is a Democratic politician who previously served as the U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 3rd congressional district. He was first elected to Congress in 2018 and has an illustrious business background, much like Republican candidate Donald Trump. Now, Phillips has set his sights on the White House.

Phillips earned a bachelor's degree in urban studies from Brown University before earning his MBA from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Business. In November 2023, he announced he would not be seeking a fourth term in Congress, choosing to take on President Biden for the Democratic ticket in the 2024 presidential election. Though Phillips securing a win is a long shot, he is refusing to end his campaign, even after losing in the New Hampshire primary.

Dean Phillips is the heir to Phillips Distilling Company

Dean Phillips has an impressive entrepreneurial resume outside of politics. After his mother remarried when he was a child, they became members of the Phillips family, which founded the Phillips Distilling Company, a distilled spirits manufacturer. Phillips joined the family business in 1993, which introduced the popular vodka Belvedere in the United States. He remained CEO of the company from 2000 to 2012. He went on to manage Josh Hochschuler'sĀ gelato company Talenti, which his father invested in. The ice cream became wildly popular and was eventually sold to Unilever in 2014 for an undisclosed amount.

With his many career endeavors, Phillips has amassed a net worth between $20.5 million and $70 million, according to a financial disclosure report obtained by Axios. Therefore, even if he does lose to President Joe Biden on the campaign trail, he'll be comfortable in the aftermath of the election. Such wealth has also been how Phillips has maintained his campaign.

Phillips has self-funded the majority of his campaign

Since Dean Phillips came into politics as a successful businessman, he has been able to finance the majority of his campaign. Another January 2024 report by Axios revealed that Phillips has contributed a $4 million loan to his campaign in the fourth quarter of 2023, which covers the months of October, November, and December. During that same time frame, he received only $1 million from donors. The beginning of 2024 also saw Phillips publicly gain support from billionaire hedge fund investor William A. Ackman, who penned a lengthy endorsement via Twitter on January 13, 2024. In that post, Ackman shared that he would donate $1 million to an organization that is supporting Phillip's run.

Phillips is reportedly not performing the best at the polls. He came in third place during February 2024's South Carolina primary, earning less than 2% of votes. Still, no matter what takes place in the polls, Phillips seems eager to continue competing in the race, even if his chances look grim.