UPDATE (Oct. 28, 2020): U.S. Supreme Court denies special election request in 2nd Congressional District
The Republican Party candidate in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District is seeking U.S. Supreme Court action to proceed with a February 2021 special election following the death of a third-party candidate that put the date of the battleground district vote into question.
Tyler Kistner asked the country's high court to stay a preliminary injunction by a lower court that reinstated the Nov. 3 election for the district. The emergency request was submitted Monday, Oct. 26, to Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Kistner is looking to unseat DFLer Angie Craig. The district covers much of southeastern Minnesota, including Goodhue, Dakota, Wabasha and Scott counties as well as parts of Washington and Rice counties.
Here's a rundown of the timeline up to this point:
- It was announced Sept. 24 that Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate Adam Weeks had died. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon in a news release said a special election would be held for the 2nd Congressional District race, per state law. "The law is clear on what happens next. If a major party nominee dies within 79 days of Election Day; a special election will be held for that office on the second Tuesday of February (February 9, 2021)," Simon is quoted in the news release.
- Craig and a registered voter in the district filed a lawsuit to keep the vote on Election Day, and a U.S. District Court judge granted a preliminary injunction on Oct. 9. Craig argued her campaign would be harmed without the injunction because voters who would've selected her on Nov. 3 may not vote in a special election. Kistner countered that his campaign would be hurt without a special election because early and absentee voters may not have selected a candidate on their ballots following the Secretary of State's announcement. He also said campaign advertising was put on hold in preparation for the February special election.
- Kistner appealed the decision, but an appeals court on Oct. 23 declined to suspend the election, writing that Kistner was unlikely to win the case on its merits and that it was unlikely the death of a third-party candidate would be enough rationale to delay the election.
The U.S. Supreme Court filing echoed previous objections brought by Kistner's campaign:
"Untold numbers of voters chose not to select a candidate in that race, and Mr. Kistner’s campaign, his campaign donors, and his independent supporters upended their campaigning—cancelling events, scheduling new events for the February 2021 special election, postponing outreach, etc.—in reliance on Minnesota law and the Secretary’s representation that the November election was off. And then a federal court switched the race back on, right in the middle of voting."
This is a developing story.