A Minnesota candidate running for Congress in the state’s highly contested 2nd Congressional District has died.
Paula Overby, 68, who was the Legal Marijuana Now candidate, died Wednesday, according to Minnesota Public Radio.
Overby has made multiple unsuccessful attempts at winning an election since 2014. At the time Overby entered politics, Overby was the first openly transgender individual seeking a congressional seat, according to Axios.
Although a state law calls for a delay in the election when a candidate dies this close to voting, voting will not be delayed and Overby will remain on the ballot, according to a statement from Secretary of State Steve Simon.
“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.
The 2nd District race has been dubbed the second most expensive House contest in the country by Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel, according to MPR.
Overby’s death could impact the race.
Although in 2016 Overby received only 8 percent of the vote, votes cast for her could make a difference in the contest between Democratic Rep. Angie Craig and Republican challenger Tyler Kistner.
Axios noted that in 2020, when the Legal Marijuana Now candidate also died not long before the election, that candidate received 6 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.
MPR reported that Tyler Overby said the candidate had a heart valve issue and had been in the hospital for the past two weeks. Paula Overby had been expected to recover, he said.
Long-time third party candidate Paula Overby died at age 68. She is the second candidate from the Legal Marijuana Now Party to die while running for Minnesota's #CD2 in recent years.
Secretary of State's office says election there will proceed as planned. https://t.co/ohv6QQRCv6
— Jessie Van Berkel (@jessvanb) October 5, 2022
Both candidates issued statements on Overby’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.”
“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,” he said.
Craig said in a statement that “Minnesota is better” for Overby’s political efforts and that Overby “will be missed.”
“This has come up so suddenly.” Legal Marijuana Now Chair Tim Davis said, according to MPR.
Overby’s death “caught everybody by surprise,” he said, according to Axios.
“We’re pretty much in shock and just gotta figure out OK, now what?” he said. “This is the second time this has happened in the last two years.”