MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With more than a month remaining in the election cycle, Minnesota’s 2nd congressional district appears headed for a special election after the death of one of its candidates.

Adam Weeks, who was campaigning against incumbent Rep. Angie Craig in the district, represented the Legal Marijuana Now Party. On Thursday, it was reported that he had died.

“I want to offer condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Weeks. The loss of any of us is a tragedy, and that’s felt especially in someone who has put his energy into a campaign to serve in public office,” Secretary of State Steve Simon said.

Simon went on to say that the law is clear that, when a major party nominee dies within 79 days of Election Day, a special election is to be held in that office the second Tuesday of February — Feb. 9, 2021.

Earlier this week, Heather Brown examined this scenario in Good Question.

Due to law, Weeks’ name will still appear on the ballot, but votes in that race would not be counted; votes for all other races, like president, will be counted.

Andy Lokken heads up elections in Dakota County, the largest county in District 2. He says the average turnout in Dakota County is 80% for a general election. For a special election, it’s 10% to 30%.

“When a proportion of the county is wintering in a different place, when school is happening, when the weather is not so great, it could depress turnout somewhat,” Lokken said.

WCCO did talk with several south metro voters who say they plan to come out and vote again, including Prior Lake resident Carolyn Schuldt.

“I would vote 20 times a year if I could,” Schuldt said. “I think it’s important to educate and research.”

Simon said his office has reached out to local elections officials with guidance on the next steps for a special election.

The district includes south metro communities of Prior Lake and Eagan, as well as Northfield, Cannon Falls, and Zumbrota.

Dennis Schuller, with the Legal Marijuana Now Party, issued the following statement:

It is with the deepest regrets and I am sad to inform all of you that US Congressional Minnesota District two candidate Adam Charles Weeks has passed away. As a representative of the Legal Marijuana Now Party, I have no further knowledge about the circumstances surrounding candidates Weeks’ passing.

I do want to say on behalf of all of us at the Legal Marijuana Now Party that in the time that we had Adam as part of the effort we knew a bright hardworking person who was passionate about his cause and trying to make a positive difference in the world. Adam was actively campaigning and preparing to represent his constituents to the US House of Representatives. Our sympathies go out to his close friends and family and we thank Adam in memoriam for his energy and his efforts.

Democratic Rep. Craig issued a statement: “I was deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of Adam Weeks’ passing earlier this week. Cheryl and I are praying for the Weeks family during this difficult time.”

Republican challenger Tyler Kistner also issued a statement: “I am saddened to hear that Adam Weeks has passed away. Adam was a passionate advocate for the causes he believed in, and he will be missed by all those who knew him. Marie and I will be praying for Adam and his family and friends as they go through this difficult time. There will be a time and a place to talk about the election, but that day is not today.”

The Legal Marijuana Now party gained major party status in 2018 when one of the party’s candidates for state office received more than 5% of the vote. If the party was not considered a major party, this special election would not need to happen.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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