A U.S. District Court judge granted a preliminary injunction Oct. 9 in a lawsuit by Rep. Angie Craig and a 2nd Congressional District voter after the election date in the battleground district was postponed following the death of Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate Adam Weeks on Sept. 21
State law requires that the vote be postponed if a major party candidate dies within 79 days of the election.
Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright ruled Friday that the Democratic lawmaker and district resident Jenny Winslow Davies demonstrated a likelihood of success in their motion alleging the rules of the Minnesota Nominee Vacancy Statute are preempted by federal law setting the election for members of the U.S. House of Representatives on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
Craig further argued that her campaign would be harmed without the injunction because voters who would've selected her on Nov. 3 will not vote in a special election held at a later date.
The judge also granted a motion Friday by Craig's Republican challenger, Tyler Kistner, to intervene in the case as a defendant on the grounds that proceeding with the vote Nov. 3 could affect his campaign.
Kistner in a statement Friday evening said he intends to appeal the injunction.
"Based on previous statements from Secretary of State (Steve) Simon, numerous voters have reached out to our campaign and stated that they did not vote in the 2nd District race because they were told their vote would not be counted on November 3rd," the statement reads. "Additionally, we canceled numerous TV and digital advertising buys, and refrained from sending out voter contact mailings."
Simon, also a defendant in the lawsuit, argued Minnesota's vacancy statute does not conflict with federal statute, which grants states authority to set the date of special elections to fill a vacancy. But the judge determined a "vacancy in nomination" is not the same as a "vacancy" as detailed in the federal law.
"Here, there is neither a vacant 'seat' nor a vacancy of 'representation' because Minnesota’s Second Congressional District currently is represented in the United States House of Representatives by Representative Craig," according to the court order.
Legal Marijuana Now Party nominated Paula Overby to replace Weeks, according to a court document filed Oct. 6. Overby challenged Sen. Tina Smith this year in the Democratic primary.