Supreme Court Won’t Delay Vote in Minnesota Congressional Contest

October 30, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has rejected a Republican candidate’s attempt to delay the vote in a high-profile congressional race in Minnesota following the unexpected death of a third-party candidate.

The date of the vote in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District was thrown into question in September, when Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate Adam Weeks died from an apparent accidental fentanyl overdose.

Weeks’ death was sufficiently close to the election that it triggered a state law calling for such contests to be delayed until the following February.

Both Craig, the Democratic candidate, and Tyler Kistner, the Republican, took the matter to court. Political observers in the state say that expected voter turnout was the underlying key to the dispute. Craig is seen as the likely benefactor of an anticipated big Democratic turnout on Nov. 3, while Kistner’s camp evidently believed he’d do better in a stand alone special election.

Craig won a lower court ruling, blocking the delay, and an appeals court left that decision in place.

Kistner appealed that decision, but in the meantime, he also appealed to the Supreme Court for an emergency order putting on hold the lower court ruling.

But Kister’s arguments were not enough to sway Justice Neil Gorsuch, who handles emergency requests from the federal appeals court that oversees Minnesota.

On Tuesday, Gorsuch denied Kistner’s request without comment.

Kistner responded with a statement in which he blamed Craig for trying to “silence and disenfranchise thousands of her own constituents.”

In a statement of her own, Craig called the Supreme Court’s decision a “real win … for the voters of Minnesota’s Second Congressional District – who will have their voices heard as part of the November general election and have continuous representation in Congress.”

In the meantime, nearly two months after his death from what the Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office said was ethanol and fentanyl toxicity, Adam Weeks continues to make news related to the congressional contest.

According to a published report, Weeks left a voicemail for a friend in which he said he was recruited to the race by Republicans solely to siphon votes away from Craig in her competitive suburban-to-rural district south of Minneapolis.

The Star Tribune newspaper reported that it obtained a voicemail that Weeks left for his friend, Joey Hudson, four weeks before Weeks died.

In the recording, which the newspaper said Hudson gave them, the man identified as Weeks said Republican operatives approached him in the hopes he’d “pull votes away” from Craig and give an advantage to the “other guy,” Kistner.

“I swear to God to you, I’m not kidding, this is no joke,” the man the Star Tribune identified as Weeks said. The paper said his voice was confirmed by his cousin and through independent comparison to other videos he posted online before his death.

“They want me to run as a third-party, liberal candidate, which I’m down. I can play the liberal, you know that,” the man on the recording says.

Democrats have accused GOP operatives of recruiting third-party candidates such as Weeks to siphon off votes that would otherwise go to Democratic candidates in a number of races in Minnesota and the rest of the country. 

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