Angie Craig and Tyler Kistner face off in the Second Congressional District

Second Congressional District Race Still On: Angie Craig vs. Tyler Kistner

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We’d normally focus on local West St. Paul politics, but the race for the Second Congressional District (which includes West St. Paul) has taken a few bizarre turns. So we wanted to point to some helpful facts in this race.

Bottom line: Despite earlier talk of a special election, this race is still on (as of this writing). Be sure to vote for your Second Congressional District candidate. If you have already submitted an absentee ballot and did not vote for this race (or want to change your vote), you have until the end of business on Tuesday, October 20 to change your vote.

The Up-in-the-Air Race

In late September, the death of the Marijuana Now Party candidate, Adam Weeks, triggered a special election. Thanks to a 2013 state law, if a major-party candidate dies within 79 days of the election, the election is void and a special election is held in February.

That prompted a legal challenge from incumbent Angie Craig, who argued that federal law mandates the November election and the state law is invalid. Craig’s opponent, Tyler Kistner, filed a memorandum opposing the Craig’s motion and supporting the state law. On October 9, a judge ruled in favor of Craig, invalidating the state law and ordering that the November election proceed as planned and votes be counted. There would be no special election in February.

Kistner has appealed the decision, and multiple parties have filed briefs. So far the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has not indicated if they’ll consider the appeal. So until we hear otherwise, the November election is on. (Thanks to the League of Women Voters for their summary.)

(Oct. 28, 2020 Update: The Supreme Court denied Kistner’s motion to stay the election until February, so the November election will be official. Also, a Star Tribune story yesterday broke news that the GOP allegedly recruited third-party candidate Adam Weeks to draw votes from the DFL.)

What Does That Mean?

The bottom line is that for a period of approximately two weeks, voters in this race were told by the Minnesota Secretary of State that the November election won’t count. An unknown number of voters have likely skipped this race on their absentee ballot.

It also means we likely haven’t seen the end of legal challenges in this race.

Now What?: How to Get Your Absentee Ballot Back

If you voted absentee and did not vote in the Second Congressional District or want to change your vote, you have until the end of business on Tuesday, October 20 (yeah, that’s tomorrow). You can do that by contacting the election official that sent your ballot (that’s likely Dakota County Elections at 651.438.4305). Then you can either have a new absentee ballot mailed to you or you can vote in person on election day.

The Race

Here’s a few quick details about the race to help you decide who to vote for.

Who’s Running?

Note: The Marijuana Now Party nominated Paula Overby to replace Weeks in the February special election. With the special election called off by the courts, Weeks remains on the ballot. A Weeks victory would trigger a new special election. (If Paula Overby sounds familiar, it’s because she ran for this seat in 2016 as an independent, earning 7.8% of the vote in a race Jason Lewis won by 1.8%.)

Where the Candidates Stand:

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