Following an appeals court decision Friday upholding a lower court's ruling that Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District election should proceed on Nov. 3, Republican candidate Tyler Kistner has announced he will be appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing the election should be postponed to February.
After the death of Legal Marijuana Now party candidate Adam Weeks in late September, the Minnesota Secretary of State said the election must adhere to a 2013 state law requiring a postponement if a major party candidate dies within 79 days of an election.
The Legal Marijauna Now party qualifies as a major party after obtaining at least 5 percent of the vote in the 2018 election.
If the election were to be postponed, freshman Democrat Rep. Angie Craig would have to leave her seat at the end of her term in January, and the seat would remain vacant until after a Feb. 9 special election.
Towards the end of September, Craig filed a lawsuit arguing that federal law preempts the state law in requiring a timely election, and cited the vacancy as a top concern. A federal judge concurred earlier this month, ruling that the election must continue. After Kistner appealed, the Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit on Friday upheld the district court decision.
Hours afterwards, Kistner issued a statement announcing his intention to appeal to the nation's highest court: "I will continue the fight to ensure every voter in the Second District has a chance to have their vote and voice heard. After all, Minnesota has a history of electing 3rd party candidates to statewide office."
While the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to postpone the election, it said it still agreed to hear arguments.
"We do not think Kistner is likely to succeed on the merits of his contention that (Minnesota state law), as applied to the current situation, may coexist with the federal election laws,” the decision says. "The motion for an administrative stay and a stay pending appeal is denied. Kistner’s motion to expedite the appeal is granted, and the clerk is directed to establish an expedited briefing schedule."
Craig issued a statement Friday praising the appellate court decision.
“I am grateful for the court’s ruling this morning, which ensures that will not be the case,” she said. “Since the day I was sworn in, I’ve worked tirelessly to represent the values and interests of my constituents in Congress – and I look forward to continuing to do so next January.”
She added: “The courts have spoken – now it is time for the people of Minnesota’s Second Congressional District to decide.”
While Kistner is pushing for a postponement, he also encouraged people to vote in the ongoing election: “In the meantime, I urge all voters to participate in this election on November 3rd and help me send a clear message to Angie Craig that her political games and gamesmanship have run their course."
Craig is favored to win re-election in the 2nd District, though it's historically been shown that challengers have better chances in special elections compared to general elections.