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Paula Overby, a third-party candidate running for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District with the Legal Marijuana Now Party, has died just over a month before Election Day.

Family of Overby, who was 68, announced her death Wednesday. Overby was one of three major-party candidates on the ballot in the race for the seat currently held by DFL incumbent Angie Craig. Election Day is Nov. 8.

Overby had been involved in third-party politics since 2014. She ran as an independent in 2014 and 2016, becoming the first openly transgender candidate to run for Congress in Minnesota. In 2018, she challenged Sen. Amy Klobuchar as a Green Party candidate.

“A growing percentage of Americans recognize that two political bureaucracies in Washington are no longer representing the American people,” Overby’s website reads.

“I am proud to represent the Legal Marijuana Now party in our efforts to end another American war: The War on Drugs.”

It's the second consecutive election that the Legal Marijuana Now candidate for Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District has died shortly before the election. In 2020, candidate Adam Weeks died in September. 

The Minnesota Secretary of State's Office says that Overby's name will remain on the ballot and the election date for CD-2 will remain the same.

Legal Marijuana Now Party Chairman Tim Davis told the Star Tribune that Overby had recently been hospitalized for heart problems but that he was “gobsmacked” to hear of her death.

And just over a month until Election Day, David said it's unlikely the party will nominate another candidate. But he did say his party would meet Wednesday to discuss the situation.

The Legal Marijuana Now Party achieved major-party status in Minnesota in 2018. 

Early voting is already underway in the competitive race, which will decide who represents parts of the south metro and southeastern Minnesota. Craig, who was first elected in 2018, is being challenged by Republican Tyler Kistner.

Both Craig and Kistner have issued statements of condolences as news broke of Overby's death.

“Cheryl and I were saddened to hear of Paula Overby’s passing this morning, and we are sending our deepest condolences to Paula’s family and friends at this difficult time," Craig's statement read. 

"Minnesota is better for her involvement in our community and she will be missed.”

"Paula Overby cared deeply about our state, and the principles she believed in," Kistner said. "It was an honor to have gotten to known Paula throughout this campaign. My thoughts and prayers go out to Paula's family and friends during this difficult time."

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