Minnesota will delay the November congressional election for its 2nd District after the secretary of state’s office confirmed third-party candidate Adam Weeks’ death on Thursday.
Weeks, 38, was a farmer running under the Legal Marijuana Now Party — which received 5.3% of the vote in the state’s 2018 auditor race — against freshman Democratic Rep. Angie Craig.
“I want to offer condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Weeks. The loss of any of us is a tragedy, and that’s felt especially in someone who has put his energy into a campaign to serve in public office,” Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said in a Thursday statement.
State law says that if a major party nominee dies 79 days ahead of the Nov. 3 election, the election will be postponed until a special election is held on the second Tuesday of February, or Feb. 9 in 2021.
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Craig said in a Friday tweet that she and her wife are “praying for the Weeks family during this unimaginably difficult time.”
“I can assure you that I am working tirelessly to get these answers as quickly as possible,” she wrote. “…While we learn more about our path forward, I will continue to dedicate all of my energy to fighting on behalf of the hardworking people of Minnesota’s Second Congressional District and working to ensure that they continue to receive the best representation possible in Congress.”
Minnesota began early voting and started mailing absentee ballots Sept. 18.
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Weeks’ death will make for an even tighter race between Craig and Republican nominee Tyler Kistner, a Marine veteran. Kistner raised more than $1 million by July and outpaced Craig’s fundraising efforts in the second quarter of 2020.
Kister issued a statement saying he had directed his campaign to suspend all advertising out of respect for Weeks’ family and friends. The statement did not indicate whether he might be contemplating a challenge. Campaign spokesman Billy Grant said the secretary of state was “very clear” about the law, and they didn’t want to discuss hypotheticals.
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Minnesota law was changed in 2013 to avoid a repeat of the state’s frenetic U.S. Senate election in 2002, when incumbent Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash less than two weeks before the election. Democrats replaced him with former Vice President Walter Mondale, who lost to Republican Norm Coleman.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.