A Minnesota candidate for the state’s highly contested Second Congressional District passed away suddenly on Wednesday.
Paula Overby, 68, who was the Legal Marijuana Now candidate, died of a heart valve issue, according to Minnesota Public Radio.
Overby’s son Tyler told MPR News she had a heart valve problem and had been hospitalized for the past two weeks but that he had expected her to recover.
Overby has run in multiple different elections since 2014, and all have been unsuccessful. Axios reports that Overby was the first openly transgender individual seeking a congressional seat at the beginning of her foray into politics.
Although there is a state law which calls for a delay in the election when a candidate dies this close to voting, Secretary of State Steve Simon announced in a statement that voting will not be delayed and Overby will remain on the ballot.
“In 2021, a federal district court ruled that Minnesota’s statute governing vacancies in nomination is preempted by federal law and does not apply to a race for U.S. Congress. In the absence of any other court order, the Nov. 8, 2022, ballots will remain as printed, and the Congressional District 2 election will proceed as scheduled on Nov. 8, 2022,” the statement said.
Although Overby was a third party candidate, and not expected to win what has been dubbed one of the most expensive House contests in the country by Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel, her death may impact the election.
In 2016 Overby received only eight percent of the vote, but votes cast for her could make a difference in the contest between Democratic Rep. Angie Craig and Republican challenger Tyler Kistner.
In 2020, the Legal Marijuana Now candidate also died not long before the election. That candidate received six percent of the vote.
That year Craig received 48.2 percent of the vote against 45.9 percent for Kistner with fewer than 10,000 votes separating the two.
Both candidates issued a statement on the candidate’s passing.
“This is a very sad day for Minnesota’s Second District,” Kistner said in a statement. “Paula Overby cared deeply about our state, and the principles she believed in. It was an honor to have gotten to know Paula throughout this campaign. My thoughts and prayers go out to Paula’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Craig also released a statement, saying “Cheryl and I were saddened to hear of Paula Overby’s passing this morning, and we are sending our deepest condolences to Paula’s family and friends at this difficult time. Minnesota is better for her involvement in our community and she will be missed.”
“She’ll be greatly missed,” said Legal Marijuana Now Party Chair Tim Davis. “This has come up so suddenly.”
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