A federal judge agrees with Rep. Angie Craig that the congressional election in her district must proceed as planned, on November 3.
The decision, handed down by U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright on Friday, would prevent the special election that was called when one of Craig's opponents — Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate Adam Weeks — died last month.
Craig, who filed a lawsuit to keep the November election on track, released a statement calling the decision "an enormous victory" for the state's 2nd Congressional District, which she represents:
Under Minnesota law, the special election is scheduled to take place in February; Craig's lawsuit argued against it on the grounds that her district can’t go without representation for a month after her current term is up in January.
She also argued that the state of Minnesota "does not have the authority to alter the date for federal elections," as federal law requires U.S. House elections to happen as part of the November general election in even-numbered years.
However, her legal victory may not be the end of the battle; her Republican opponent, Tyler Kistner, has announced he'll be appealing the court's decision:
"As recently as this week, the United States Supreme Court and Appeals Courts have ruled that state laws cannot be overturned on the eve of an election," Kistner said in his announcement, adding he's confident that the state law will ultimately be upheld.
The law Craig is suing against was intended to prevent what happened after the sudden death of Sen. Paul Wellstone less than two weeks before the 2002 election; in that case, the vote went ahead as scheduled, with Walter Mondale having hastily taken Wellstone's place.
The law states that 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 (which will fall on the 9th in 2021).