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Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips announces he won't seek reelection to 3rd Congressional District amid presidential run

Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips announces run for President
Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips announces run for President 02:10

MINNEAPOLIS — Rep. Dean Phillips, who serves Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District, announced on Friday that he will not seek reelection to Congress.

Phillips, 54, announced in late October that he would be making a run for the presidency, challenging President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination. He launched his campaign in New Hampshire, citing a need for a new generation of Democrats to lead.

"My journey to public service began the morning after the 2016 election, when I faced the reality that democracy requires participation — not observation," Phillips said on Friday. "Seven years have passed, each presenting historic opportunities to practice a brand of optimistic politics that repairs relationships and improves people's lives. We have met those moments, and after three terms it is time to pass the torch."

"To my colleagues in Congress: serving with you has been the honor of a lifetime - particularly during some of the darkest days in our nation's history," Phillips said. "To my amazing community, the most engaged in the entire nation, you have made this the most joyful job I've ever had. I always say that representation begins with listening, and your diverse and respectful voices represent the very best of America."

RELATED: Biden's Minnesota trip serves as a show of political force against primary challenger Dean Phillips

There were early signs that Phillips would make a run, but things moved quickly once he stepped down from his role as co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Caucus at the start of October, saying his opinions of the 2024 race were "incongruent with the majority of [his] caucus."

He's been on the record criticizing the older members of Congress, and called for term limits after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell froze during a news conference during summer. The late Sen. Dianne Feinstein was in the midst of being hospitalized after she fell in her home

Even before putting pen to paper in New Hampshire, Phillips, 54, sat down with CBS News chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa in an exclusive interview for "CBS Mornings."

"I think President Biden has done a spectacular job for our country," Phillips said. "But it's not about the past. This is an election about the future."

Major primary challengers emerged for the 3rd District seat after Phillips announced his presidential run. What was historically a GOP territory in the western suburbs of Minneapolis has leaned comfortably Democratic since Phillips won the position in 2018. 

MORE: Rep. Dean Phillips' presidential campaign means 3rd District race is suddenly interesting

After Phillips said he would not be seeking reelection, Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said he appreciated "Dean's service and his 100% voting record supporting President Biden's historic record of accomplishments."

Martin added that "there are a number of talented DFLers who would be great representatives for Minnesota's third district and who understand the importance of reelecting President Biden and keeping this seat in DFL hands. I'm confident we will have a strong and loyal nominee for the DFL Party at the conclusion of the process."

Who is Dean Phillips?

Phillips was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and currently resides in Wayzata. He is the father to two adult daughters from his previous marriage, and has been married to his current wife, Annalise, since 2019.

Before his political career, Phillips was the heir to his stepfather's Phillips Distilling Company empire, which holds major vodka and schnapps brands. He was once the company's president, but also ran the gelato maker Talenti.

The gelato truck was a centerpiece of his first House campaign in 2018, when he unseated five-term Republican Erik Paulsen. It was the first time in nearly six decades that a Republican didn't carry that district. 

Though the area — which encompasses Bloomington, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Brooklyn Park, and Anoka — is now more Democratic-leaning, Phillips has taken a more moderate approach, and is a member of the centrist Problem Solvers Caucus in Congress.

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