Minn. candidate’s death triggers special House election

Published 5:54 pm Friday, September 25, 2020

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RED WING — A Minnesota congressional race won’t be decided in November after one of the candidates died, triggering a provision in state law that it be pushed to a special election in February, the secretary of state said.

Adam Charles Weeks, of the Legal Marijuana Now Party, was running in the 2nd District, which represents a swath of Minnesota stretching south from Minneapolis suburbs. Gabby Ulan, who identified herself as Weeks’ partner, said the 38-year-old was found dead at his home in Red Wing after family members requested a welfare check.

Weeks’ obituary said he died Monday. Ulan said the cause of death wasn’t clear, and an autopsy had been requested. Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman confirmed that officers carried out a welfare check Monday evening and found Weeks’ body, but declined further comment.

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Democratic Rep. Angie Craig is seeking her second term in the district. Tyler Kistner is the Republican nominee.

Legal Marijuana Now is a major party in Minnesota, a designation generally achieved by having a candidate win a certain percentage of votes in a prior statewide election. Secretary of State Steve Simon said state law requires a special election if a major-party nominee dies within 79 days of Election Day. Simon said the law also stipulates the date of the election as the second Tuesday of February, which means Feb. 9, 2021, for the 2nd District race.

Minnesota law was changed in 2013 to avoid a repeat of the state’s frenetic 2002 U.S. Senate election, when incumbent Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash less than two weeks before the election. Democrats rushed to replace Wellstone with former Vice President Walter Mondale, who lost to Republican Norm Coleman.

Risikat Adesaogun, a spokeswoman for Simon, said the 2nd District seat would become vacant when Craig’s term ends in January.