Updated: September 29, 2020 06:26 PM
Created: September 29, 2020 04:56 PM
Congresswoman Angie Craig (D-MN) is trying to get a federal court to ensure that the Second Congressional District election will take place in November despite the death of a major party candidate which moved the race to February.
The campaign was shaken by the death of Legal Marijuana Now Party nominee, 38-year-old Adam Weeks, last week at his home.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon announced that the election won’t be held in November because a major party nominee died within 79 days of Election Day, therefore, state law calls for it to be settled in a special election on February 9, 2021.
“This would leave Minnesota's Second Congressional District without representation next year, we looked at federal law — we don't believe the Secretary of State has the authority to alter the timing of the election," said Craig. "My message is still vote, vote for choice in this race, and we'll see what happens next."
Craig and an Apple Valley woman also name in the lawsuit claim that postponing the election is in violation of federal law that requires elections for the U.S. House of Representatives to occur as part of the November general election in even-numbered years.
The other candidate in the race, Republican Tyler Kistner, said he's focused on February's special election.
Kistner added at a news conference that Craig's lawsuit will only confuse voters about when to cast their ballots.
"There's a lot of confusion out there, the Secretary of State has already come out with his comments in regards to this specific race, and it's creating a lot more confusion now that Angie Craig has filed this lawsuit," said Kistner.
A federal judge has been assigned to the case but a date for a hearing had not been set by Tuesday afternoon based on an online court calendar.
"I think in the next week we're going to see a lot of litigation, counter-litigation and movements by the courts to try and resolve this pretty quickly, I'm not sure there is any good answer to this one," said David Schultz, a Hamline University professor and election law expert.
The Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office did not have a comment about the lawsuit but pointed toward its comments made last week.
Minnesota law was changed in 2013 to delay an election to after the death of a candidate in order to avoid a repeat of the 2002 U.S. Senate election, when incumbent Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash less than two weeks before the election.
At the time, Democrats rushed to replace Wellstone with former Vice President Walter Mondale, who lost to Republican Norm Coleman.
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