A federal judge ruled Friday that the Minnesota Congressional election for the 2nd District could proceed despite the death of a third-party candidate in September.
The decision is a victory for the freshman Democratic representative. Angie Craig, who filed a federal complaint on September 28 to ensure the elections proceed after Secretary of State Steve Simon announced they would be postponed until February.
State law requires an election to be postponed if a candidate from a major party dies 79 days before November 3.
“Given the enormous importance to voters in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District voters to be able to vote in the November general election and having uninterrupted representation in the United States Congress, public interest weighs in favoring the admission of the plaintiffs’ request for a ‘preliminary injunction “, USA District judge Wilhelmina Wright wrote in her decision.
The ruling notes that Craig’s argument that federal law takes precedence over state law would likely succeed, and Craig’s campaign should conserve campaign resources until February if delayed. Wright added that a delay would leave members without representation for more than a month.
The ruling ordered Simon to stop telling voters that the 2nd district congressional elections will be postponed.
“Voters should continue to vote this race on their ballots, and pursuant to the district court ruling, those votes will be counted,” Simon wrote in a statement on Friday.
Craig takes on Republican Tyler Kristner, a Marine Corps veteran who raised over $ 1 million in July and beat Craig’s fundraising efforts in the second quarter. Kristner argued for the postponed election, saying he will appeal Wright’s decision “to ensure that every Minnesota man has the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choosing.”
“As recently as this week, the United States Supreme Court and various Appeals Courts have ruled that state laws cannot be overturned on the eve of the election. Based on this precedent, my campaign will be appealing today’s ruling to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals,” he wrote in a tweet on Friday.
His lawyers filed a petition on Friday to prevent Wright’s warrant from being upheld while he appeals, saying his order “is sure to deprive thousands of voters” who believed there would be no congressional elections on November 3.
Adam Weeks, 37, was running for the Legal Marijuana Now Party until his unexpected death in September. The party, which won 5.3% of the vote in a 2018 state auditors race, on Tuesday named Paula Overby to represent District 2.