MN Congressman Facing Well-Funded Challenger

Vodka heir claims he’s raised a record amount for a challenger

dean phillips,
Image Credit: Dean Phillips for Congress - Facebook

EXCELSIOR, Minn. — The effort to flip the third congressional district in Minnesota is heating up.

Democratic challenger Dean Phillips announced his fundraising totals for the first six weeks of his campaign via press release.

Since the announcement of his campaign, Phillips says he has raised a total of $527,585, with $433,287 cash on hand at the end of the second quarter.

Phillips claims his, “record-breaking haul is the most ever raised by a challenger at this stage in a Minnesota Congressional race and is amongst the highest fundraising totals nationally this quarter.”

This week, Phillips spent part of his week meeting with UN Peacekeepers at the Israeli/Syrian border.

However, incumbent Republican congressman Erik Paulsen has outraised his opponent, raising $565,587 during the second quarter (April 1 to June 30). Paulsen has $986,462 cash on hand, almost double of Phillip’s cash on hand, and has raised $37,000 more than Phillips during the second quarter.

In a two year span, Paulsen raised almost $5 million for his race in 2016, while his democratic challenger Terri Bonhoff raised almost $2 million in just 10 months.

At the beginning of May, Alpha News wrote on Phillips announcement to run against Paulsen for congress. Phillips is a business tycoon who co-owns Penny’s Coffeeshop located in Downtown Minneapolis, the Talenti Gelato brand, and UV Vodka.

“The same can’t be said for Erik Paulsen. He’s a no-show for his constituents, but he’ll show up for the special interests and Washington lobbyists who are funding his campaign year after year,” Phillips campaign manager Tom Perron said in the release. “Meanwhile, Dean is running this campaign the same way he intends to serve in Congress: by working hard, by showing up, and by listening – and voters in the 3rd District are already responding in a big way.”

Paulsen has faced criticism from those within the district for not holding town halls. The group Indivisible MN has called on Paulsen to hold town halls in the district on various topics. Alpha News covered an Indivisible event, where the group held a health care town hall with DNC Deputy Chair and MN-05 Rep. Keith Ellison in June. Phillips was present and asked a few questions at the town hall.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.