Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) filed a federal lawsuit to allow her district's House race to be held in November after a minor party candidate’s death pushed the election back to February.
Craig, who is running to keep her seat for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, filed a federal complaint to counter the state law that forces a February special election after Adam Weeks, the Legal Marijuana Now Party’s candidate, died suddenly last week.
Weeks died 40 days before Election Day, which activated a state law mandating the election be delayed. No cause of death was provided.
Under state law, Craig would be required to vacate her seat when the new Congress was sworn in and wait for the February special election.
Craig argued in a statement that federal law requires the election to proceed in November and that a February election would leave people in her district without representation at the beginning of the 117th Congress.
“The people of Minnesota’s Second Congressional District deserve to have a voice fighting for them in Washington,” she said.
“Unfortunately, the process currently in place would deprive Minnesotans of their seat at the table when critical legislation affecting our state will be debated – including bills to rid politics of special interests, ensure quality affordable health care for every Minnesotan and safeguard our family farmers,” she added.
The Minnesota Democrat said she “strongly” urges voters to continue to fill out their ballots “to ensure that every Minnesotan has the representation they deserve in Congress next year.”
Today, I filed a federal complaint to ensure that the election in #MN02 will proceed as required by federal law and that my constituents will not be without Congressional representation in 2021. Read my statement below and please continue to mark your ballot in this race: pic.twitter.com/WfO9q9fGye— Angie Craig (@AngieCraigMN) September 28, 2020
In her lawsuit, Craig alleges Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon (D) is “in clear violation of federal law,” according to CBS affiliate WCCO in Minneapolis.
Simon declined to comment on pending litigation.
Craig is running against Republican candidate Tyler Kistner, whose campaign released a statement early Monday saying the Democrat “is trying to play politics with Minnesotans’ voting rights.”
“Despite Secretary of State Simon being crystal clear that there will be a special election in February, Angie Craig is trying to rewrite laws to disenfranchise voters,” his campaign said. “The people in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District will not be fooled.”
His campaign noted the state law was passed in 2013 with bipartisan support and the backing of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party in the state.
The law requires the election to be delayed to the second Tuesday of February if a major party candidate dies within 79 days of Election Day.
—Updated Tuesday at 10:24 a.m.