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Angie Craig files lawsuit over delayed 2nd District election

Craig argues the district cannot go without representation until a February special election, despite state law that requires it.

Minnesota Congresswoman Angie Craig filed a lawsuit Monday to allow the 2nd Congressional District’s election to proceed as normal in November, despite state law that says otherwise.

Legal Marijuana Now candidate Adam Weeks died last week, triggering a special election for the seat that won't take place until February. Craig’s lawsuit, filed in federal court, argues the suburban-rural district can’t go without representation for a month after her term is up in January.

According to Secretary of State Steve Simon, if a major party’s candidate dies fewer than 79 days before an election, a special election will occur on the second Tuesday of February, or Feb. 9.

The law was changed in 2013, with KSTP reporting it was done to avoid a repeat of the 2002 U.S. Senate election, in which Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash less than two weeks before the election, but the vote nonetheless went ahead with Walter Mondale hastily taking Wellstone's place.

But Craig is arguing that the state law is superseded by federal law that requires U.S. House elections to happen as part of the November general election in even-numbered years. 

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Simon said that voters in the district should still cast their ballots in the Nov. 3 General Election. Ballots won’t change ahead of the special election, meaning voters who have already cast theirs don’t need to request a new one.

“Hardworking second district families are entitled to representation in Congress, and that’s why I’m taking action today to ensure that the election this November proceeds as mandated by federal law,” Craig said in a statement. 

“I strongly urge every voter in the 2nd Congressional District to continue to mark their ballots, and I will continue to fight to ensure that every Minnesotan has the representation they deserve in Congress next year.”

Republican Tyler Kistner is challenging Craig, a first-year incumbent, for the seat. 

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