An obscure Minnesota law that was just triggered by circumstances that could only be called bizarre has actually postponed the election for Congress from the Gopher State’s 2nd District from November to February 9.
Because of the death last week of U.S. House nominee Adam Weeks of the Legal Marijuana Now Party, a 2013 law went into effect that requires the election to be pushed three months if a major party candidate dies within 79 days of election.
Since the Legal Marijuana Now Party drew 5 per cent of the vote in the previous statewide election, it is recognized as a major party in Minnesota, hence the delay — even though ballots have been printed up for November with the names of Weeks and the other party nominees.
Many Republicans in the state say that the postponement will help Republican challenger Tyler Kistner in his bid to defeat freshman Democrat Rep. Angie Craig.
“Mr. Kistner will have the ability to raise funds and attract prominent supporters to a greater degree than he does now,” veteran Minnesota conservative activist John Augustine told Newsmax. “Republicans and conservatives will be able to focus energy on that contest instead of having that energy diverted to protecting incumbents or backing challengers thought to have the best chance of winning.”
Augustine and others explained to Newsmax that the genesis of the “delay and vote” law was the death in a plane crash of Democrat Sen. Paul Wellstone eleven days before the 2002 election. Under the law at the time, former Vice President and 1984 Democrat presidential nominee Walter Mondale replaced Wellstone as the Democrat Senate nominee. He went on to lose to Republican Norm Coleman, who had been campaigning all along against Wellstone.
When Democrats held the governorship and both houses of the state legislature in 2013, they sought to avoid another “Wellstone situation.” Thus, the new law was enacted.
“The chief architect and legislative author for those changes was Steve Simon of the Democratic Farmer Labor Party [the official name of the party in Minnesota], who has since become Minnesota's Secretary of State, the person with the most statewide responsibility for administering Minnesota's elections,” said Augustine. “Democrats had long sought to avoid a repeat of having to run a new candidate in the closing days of an election, If such a situation occured again, a major party has more time to craft a campaign behind a new candidate, giving it a better chance of overcoming potential damage from the loss of the originally-chosen candidate.”
The “Wellstone Law” has been used once before, Augustine told Newsmax, when the courts ruled shortly before an election that one of the major-party candidates was ineligible due to not residing in the district.
The last poll on the Minnesota-2 race was a Harper Polling survey that showed Craig leading Kistner, a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer, by 45 to 36 percent.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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