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Phillips, Weiler vie for 3rd District Congressional seat

By: Stuart Sudak

Democratic U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips is being challenged for his 3rd District House seat by Republican Tom Weiler.

Phillips, 53, of Wayzata, has held that seat since 2019. Before being elected, he was a businessman and entrepreneur who ran his family’s company, Phillips Distilling, and Talenti Gelato. He is now co-owner of Penny’s Coffee.

Phillips told MinnPost this summer that serving in Congress is more than passing legislation. “Congress can’t legislate compassion, respect or civility, but Congress can model that behavior,” Phillips stated.

Phillips, according to MinnPost, is a member of the New Democrats, a group of Democrats who are culturally liberal but more conservative on economic issues. Phillips also highlights his role in the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of moderate Democrats and Republicans.

He has made gun violence a top priority among the many issues highlighted on his website. He advocates for expanding background checks for all purchases, reinstating the assault weapons ban, finding “common sense measures” to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and supporting mental health and anti-bullying programs.

Weiler, 44, who lives in Plymouth but was raised in Eden Prairie, is running for office for the first time. Weiler was a career Navy officer, a submariner in line to command his own ship, when he retired after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Weiler is focusing, according to MinnPost, on what he views as the nation’s worsening problems and running on issues that are at the center of many Republican campaigns — crime and the economy.

To lower inflation, he would rein in federal spending, promote domestic energy production to regain America’s energy independence, and reduce unnecessary regulations.

To reduce crime, Weiler would support policies that maintain that individuals who commit crimes be prosecuted, “not coddled and avoid responsibility for their actions.”

Position: 3rd Congressional District Representative (U.S. House of Representatives)


  • Dean Phillips (D) (incumbent)
  • Tom Weiler (R)

Eden Prairie and other suburbs west and southwest of Minneapolis – together forming the 3rd Congressional District – are seeking a representative to the U.S. House for a two-year term. Representatives are also called congressmen or congresswomen. Among other duties, members of the U.S. House and Senate – together known as Congress, or the legislative branch of the U.S. government – make all laws, declare war, regulate interstate and foreign commerce, and control taxing and spending policies.

Rank-and-file members of Congress are paid $174,000 annually.

The Constitution requires that members of the House be at least 25 years old, have been a U.S. citizen for at least seven years, and live in the state they represent (though not necessarily the same district).

The United States is divided into 435 congressional districts, each with a population of about 710,000 individuals. Each district elects a representative to the U.S. House of Representatives for a two-year term.

Candidate Profiles


Question #1: If elected, what would be your highest priority for Minnesota and the nation?

Question #2: The economy is in a state of flux right now with inflation on one hand and low unemployment rates on the other. What laws or public policies do you think would improve that situation?

Question #3: What is the largest national security threat to the U.S., and how would you approach dealing with that threat?

Question #4: Mass shootings using military-style, semi-automatic weapons have been occurring with increasing frequency in this country. So too, are handgun murders and suicides. What kind of gun control measures, if any, do you support?

Question #5: Congress has difficulty finding consensus on major issues of the day. Provide an example of a situation you experienced where you had to compromise to accomplish a goal.

Question #6: What organizations have endorsed your election?