Election in Minnesota’s 2nd District delayed after death of third-party candidate

Secretary of state says law calls for postponement until 2021

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Angie Craig's bid for a second term will be delayed until February because a third-party candidate died, according to an announcement by the Secretary of state. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Angie Craig's bid for a second term will be delayed until February because a third-party candidate died, according to an announcement by the Secretary of state. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted September 24, 2020 at 5:05pm

The November election in Minnesota’s 2nd District, and those voters’ representation in Congress early next year, got thrown into chaos Thursday after the reported death of a third-party candidate. A state official, citing state law, said the House election would be held early next year. 

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon issued a statement Thursday saying Adam Weeks, the Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate running for the seat currently held by freshman Democratic Rep. Angie Craig, had died. 

“The law is clear on what happens next,” Simon said in the statement. “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 (February 9, 2021).”

Although some political observers questioned whether the Legal Marijuana Now Party constituted a major party, it appeared that the election would be postponed until early February. That seems to mean that the district would not have a representative in the House during the potentially crucial first weeks of the 117th Congress. 

The Secretary of State’s Office advised voters in the district to continue to vote and noted that for those who had already voted early, they did not need to request a new ballot. However, votes for the House seat cast in the November elections “will not be counted,” according to the statement.

Craig tweeted Thursday afternoon that she was “deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of Adam Weeks’ passing earlier this week. Cheryl and I are praying for the Weeks family during this difficult time.” 

Craig’s Republican challenger, Tyler Kistner, wrote on Twitter on Thursday that he was “saddened” to hear of Weeks’ death.

“Adam was a passionate advocate for the causes he believed in,” he added. “We will be praying for Adam and his family and friends as they go through this difficult time.”

Neither campaign immediately responded to inquiries about the election’s postponement. Craig’s congressional office also did not provide an immediate comment on what would happen to the seat at the start of the new Congress and before the special election, though it seemed it may remain vacant during that period.

Craig’s campaign had $2.6 million as of July 22 and Kistner’s had $488,000, according to the most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission. Weeks had not filed a disclosure, possibly indicating he had not raised or spent enough to meet the $5,000 threshold requiring a filing. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Democratic.

Craig won in 2018 by about 5 points against then-Rep. Jason Lewis, a Republican who is now challenging Democratic Sen. Tina Smith in November.