Congresswoman Sues to Hold Minnesota Race Following Death of Candidate

September 29, 2020 Updated: September 29, 2020

Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) filed a lawsuit this week urging the Minnesota Secretary of State to let the election for the seat she currently holds move forward after it was pushed to February following the death of a third-party candidate.

“The people of Minnesota’s Second Congressional District deserve to have a voice fighting for them in Washington,” Craig said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, the process currently in place would deprive Minnesotans of their seat at the table when critical legislation affecting our state will be debated—including bills to rid politics of special interests, ensure quality affordable health care for every Minnesotan and safeguard our family farmers.”

Secretary of State Steve Simon announced last week that state law clearly says that if a major party nominee dies within 79 days of Election Day, a special election will be held for that office on the second Tuesday of February.

That moves the election for Craig’s seat from Nov. 3 of this year to Feb. 9, 2021.

Simon made the announcement following the death of Adam Weeks, a Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate.

No cause of death has been released for Weeks, who was 38. His obituary says he died “unexpectedly at his home.”

Craig argued in her lawsuit that the state law goes against the U.S. Constitution when applied to elections for U.S. Congress and requested an emergency injunction.

“While the Constitution does give the states the power to prescribe ‘[t]he Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,’ it does so with an important limitation: ‘the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of choosing Senators,'” the 18-page lawsuit stated.

A spokesman for Simon said the official wouldn’t comment on the litigation, since it’s pending. Simon was named as the plaintiff in the suit.

U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright indicated her support for Craig’s suit, issuing a proposed order granting the motion on Tuesday.

Republican nominee Tyler Kistner said on Sept. 25 that he was suspending all campaign advertising out of respect for Weeks’s family and friends.

In a statement to news outlets, a Kistner campaign spokesman said the law in question was passed in 2013 with bipartisan support, including from the Democratic party.

“Despite Secretary of State Simon being crystal clear that there will be a special election in February, Angie Craig is trying to rewrite laws to disenfranchise voters. The people in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District will not be fooled,” he added.

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