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Sudden death of candidate throws Minnesota election into chaos - again

Paula Overby, the Legalize Marijuana Now Party candidate for the Second Congressional District, has passed away, KARE 11 learned Wednesday afternoon.
Credit: KARE 11 File

MINNEAPOLIS — The Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate for Minnesota's Second Congressional District, Paula Overby, has died, KARE 11 learned on Wednesday.

Overby previously ran for the Second Congressional District as an independent in 2014 and 2016. She was a Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018, then later ran in the DFL primary for the U.S. Senate in 2020.

Her son, Tyler Overby, said the 68-year-old died of complications from heart valve trouble after being hospitalized for the past two weeks.

The same scenario happened last election cycle in 2020 in the exact same race when Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate Adam Weeks died just weeks before the election. At the time, incumbent Rep. Angie Craig filed a lawsuit with the Minnesota Secretary of State to keep the race on the ballot in November 2020 rather than hold a special election in February 2021.

According to the Secretary of State's Office, Overby's name will remain on the November 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 court order, the Nov. 8, 2022 ballots will remain as printed, and the Congressional District 2 election will proceed as scheduled Nov. 8," the office said.

In a statement, Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said he was shocked and saddened to hear of Overby's passing.

"I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to Paula’s friends, family, and loved ones during this extremely difficult time. My prayers are with them, and I hope memories of Paula’s passion and tenacity bring them some solace in their grief," he said.

Rep. Craig said in a statement, “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."

Republican candidate for CD-2, Tyler Kistner, said in a press release that his campaign will postpone all public events for the next 48 hours out of respect for Overby's family.

"This is a very sad day for Minnesota's Second District," he said. "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."

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