Minnesota Democrat sues to have House race held in November

Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) filed a federal lawsuit to allow her district’s House race to be held in November after a minor party candidate’s death pushed the election back to February. 

Craig, who is running to keep her seat for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, filed a federal complaint to counter the state law that forces a February special election after Adam Weeks, the Legal Marijuana Now Party’s candidate, died suddenly last week. 

Weeks died 40 days before Election Day, which activated a state law mandating the election be delayed. No cause of death was provided. 

Under state law, Craig would be required to vacate her seat when the new Congress was sworn in and wait for the February special election.

Craig argued in a statement that federal law requires the election to proceed in November and that a February election would leave people in her district without representation at the beginning of the 117th Congress. 

“The people of Minnesota’s Second Congressional District deserve to have a voice fighting for them in Washington,” she said.  

“Unfortunately, the process currently in place would deprive Minnesotans of their seat at the table when critical legislation affecting our state will be debated – including bills to rid politics of special interests, ensure quality affordable health care for every Minnesotan and safeguard our family farmers,” she added. 

The Minnesota Democrat said she “strongly” urges voters to continue to fill out their ballots “to ensure that every Minnesotan has the representation they deserve in Congress next year.”

In her lawsuit, Craig alleges Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon (D) is “in clear violation of federal law,” according to CBS affiliate WCCO in Minneapolis

Craig is running against Republican candidate Tyler Kistner, whose campaign released a statement early Monday saying the Democrat “is trying to play politics with Minnesotans’ voting rights.”

“Despite Secretary of State Simon being crystal clear that there will be a special election in February, Angie Craig is trying to rewrite laws to disenfranchise voters,” his campaign said, according to WCCO. “The people in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District will not be fooled.”

His campaign noted the state law was passed in 2013 with bipartisan support and the backing of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party in the state. 

The law requires the election to be delayed to the second Tuesday of February if a major party candidate dies within 79 days of Election Day.

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Pelosi Prepares in Case House Must Decide Presidential Race | Political News

By LISA MASCARO, AP Congressional Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is taking extraordinary steps to prepare for the 2020 election, seeking to increase Democrats’ hold on state congressional delegations in the highly unusual scenario that the House is called on to resolve a disputed presidential contest.

“We cannot leave anything to chance,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues, emphasizing the importance of winning House seats for Democrats — not just to expand their majority but to prepare for the possibility that the House must settle the presidential race.

She said she made the planning public after President Donald Trump claimed recently that, if the election ends up in Congress, he has the advantage over Democrat Joe Biden, because Republicans control a few more delegations in the House.

“It’s sad we have to have to plan this way, but it’s what we must do to ensure the election is not stolen,” Pelosi said Sunday in the letter.

She said Trump has shown he “will do whatever it takes to remain in power.”

The strategy being put in place by Pelosi is one of several scenarios envisioned ahead of the election as Trump and Biden face off this week in the first presidential debate. Early voting is already underway in several states.

Tensions are high and rather than seeking calm, the president is sowing doubt about the nation’s ability to conduct a legitimate election, even though there is scant evidence of voter fraud. Trump tweeted fresh claims Monday of problems with ballots, but with no actual examples. “Many things are already going very wrong,” he said.

Meanwhile, states are bracing for a surge of mail-in ballots as voters avoid polling places due to potential health risks of gathering in crowds during the coronavirus pandemic. Tabulating the results could drag on for days, leaving the country exposed to foreign interference or other campaigns trying to influence the outcome.

Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent, has said Americans need to treat Election Day as “halftime” while awaiting the full results.

Normally, Americans cast their ballots for president and states certify the results through the Electoral College, which is made up of electors from the states. A joint session of Congress convenes Jan. 6 to tally the Electoral College votes and announce the winner. Typically, the decision has been resolved well in advance, usually on election night.

But if the Electoral College is deadlocked or unable to reach a majority outcome, the question goes to the House as a “contingent election.”

Each state’s congressional delegation, consisting of the newly elected House lawmakers, casts one vote to determine the presidential outcome, according to the House history website. The new president is to be inaugurated Jan. 20.

Democrats are not in serious danger of losing their majority in the House. But as of now, Pelosi explained, Republicans have a “razor thin” margin — 26 of the state delegations, compared with 22 for Democrats. Two states are essentially tied.

“We must achieve that majority

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Torres Small, Herrell meet in 1st debate in close House race

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small and Republican challenger Yvette Herrell finally have gone head-to-head in a debate in southern New Mexico’s closely watched U.S. House race.

Torres Small stressed “bipartisanship” during the KOAT-TV/Albuquerque Journal-sponsored debate Sunday while Herrell tried to link the Democrat to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Herrell said she would be a “conservative voice” and pointed to her “Christian values.” Torres Small repeatedly highlighted her votes on oil and gas that bucked the Democratic Party.

The race is a rematch of the 2018 campaign where Torres Small won by less than 4,000 votes to flip the traditionally Republican-leaning district. However, Herrell avoided televised debates then and faced criticism for failing to campaign in Hispanic areas.

This time, Herrell is campaigning in the Hispanic-majority Doña Ana County and has challenged Torres Small to multiple debates.

State numbers show that new GOP voter registrations outpaced Democrats in the 2nd Congressional District by 10,000 — more than twice the margin of victory in 2018.

Herrell campaign manager Michael Horanburg said those numbers show there is “energy and momentum” with Republicans to recapture the seat.

The Torres Small campaign said the Las Cruces Democrat has worked with Republicans, Democrats, and President Donald Trump on various proposals.

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Kalamazoo County commissioner faces small business owner in 61st House District race

Republican Bronwyn Haltom and Democrat Christine Morse are facing off to represent the 61st District in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Morse is a current Kalamazoo County commissioner representing District 9. She has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

“Christine is Michigan native, former attorney, Kalamazoo County Commissioner, public school parent of 3, breast cancer survivor, and spouse of a Navy Veteran,” she said in her responses to the Vote411.org voter guide from the League of Women Voters.

Haltom Attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College and transferred to the University of Michigan, where she earned a bachelor’s degree.

“I was born here, educated here, and own a small business here. I believe in our community and am committed to serving our neighbors to move Michigan forward,” Haltom said in responses to the League of Michigan Voters voter guide.

Haltom defeated Tom Graham in the August primary election. Morse was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

The 61st District contains the city of Portage, Oshtemo, Texas, Prairie Ronde and Schoolcraft townships and the villages of Schoolcraft and Vicksburg in Kalamazoo County. Current GOP state Rep. Brandt Iden is term-limited.

MLive Media Group has again partnered with the League of Women Voters of Michigan Education Fund to provide candidate information and other voting resources to our readers. Each candidate was asked to answer a series of questions about their policy stances.

Information on all state and federal races and many of Michigan’s county and local races will be available at Vote411.org.

Here’s a look how both candidates responded to questions from the League of Women Voters candidate survey:

EDUCATION: What is your position on the role of public funding of education in Michigan? What measures do you support/propose to improve educational outcomes and accessibility for all Michigan students?

Morse: As a public school graduate and parent, public education funding is my top issue. Teachers are vastly underpaid and class sizes are unreasonably high. In addition to rectifying the disinvestment we’ve seen over the last couple of decades, we are 50th in the country in reading growth. I believe we need to invest seriously in our public education – both through skilled trades programs, retraining, and higher education if we want our kids to be able to build a life here in Michigan. We also need to reevaluate our testing standards and make sure to involve educators in the process of rewriting.

Haltom: Public education is the most important investment the State of Michigan can make in our future, and I support robust education funding that prepares Michigan students for the jobs of tomorrow. The legislature must find long-term solutions to address Michigan’s third grade reading levels that bring together parents, teachers, administrators and students. I support measures to expand opportunities that empower parents and guardians to make decisions that best fit their student’s educational needs. We must also promote and invest in skilled trades and vocational learning as an additional path to

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Slagh and Banks face off in 90th state House District race

OTTAWA COUNTY, MI — State Rep. Bradley Slagh, R-Zeeland, will face Democratic challenger Christopher Banks in the Nov. 3 general election for Michigan’s 90th House District seat.

The conservative-leaning district in Ottawa County includes Holland, Zeeland, Hudsonville and Jamestown Township.

The candidates vying for the two-year seat are: State Rep. Bradley Slagh, R-Zeelend; and Democrat Christopher Banks, a quality assurance professional who lives in Holland.

Meet the two candidates:

  • Bradley Slagh, 63, of Zeeland, is the incumbent state representative for the 90th District. He earned a degree in business administration and a teaching certificate from Hope College. In addition to his first term as state representative, Slagh worked in finance for 18 years, served as Zeeland Township supervisor for six years and as Ottawa County treasurer for 12 years.
  • Christopher Banks, 44, of Holland, works in the manufacturing industry. Banks, in response to questions about his education, listed Ross Medical Education Center, Davenport University and Dale Carnegie. Banks has experience as a mentor, counselor and as an ordained minister.

MLive Media Group partnered with the League of Women Voters of Michigan to provide candidate information for readers. Each candidate was asked to outline their stances on a variety of public policy issues.

Information on all state and federal races and many of Michigan’s county and local races is available at Vote411.org, an online voter guide created by the League of Women Voters.

Below are Slagh and Banks’ unedited responses to six policy questions on issues ranging from education to economic security:

What is your position on the role of public funding of education in Michigan? What measures do you support/propose to improve educational outcomes and accessibility for all Michigan students?

Slagh: Quality education for every Michigan child should be the expectation. We need flexibility in the options including traditional public, public academies, private or parochial schools and home schooling. To improve we must allow innovation, best practices and flexibility for instructors. It needs to include on-line, possibly year round options, and the Governor’s recent Executive Orders eliminated almost 100 specific education expectations, and if they were not necessary in a Pandemic they should all be reviewed and many likely permanently jettisoned.

Banks: I believe that we have to invest in our children by wholly supporting public schools. Funding privately owned charter schools at the expense of public schools, is not good practice. I propose a more definitive structure in pre-school education by introducing young people to other languages, reading and comprehension. Using a “hooked on phonics” approach is one way we will help our students. Adding budgeting courses to elementary would also be a great asset. If we prepare our youth for the global stage, we will gain more than loss in my humble opinion. They will progress beyond what we can conceive.

What policies do you support to increase jobs and help Michigan residents improve their economic positions, in general and given the pandemic?

Slagh: Reduce state and local ordinances, laws and rules as they increase the cost of

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Death of candidate in Minn. House race triggers special election next year

“I want to offer condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Weeks. The loss of any of us is a tragedy, and that’s felt especially in someone who has put his energy into a campaign to serve in public office,” Secretary of State Steve Simon (D) said in a statement. “The law is clear on what happens next. If a major party nominee dies within 79 days of Election Day; a special election will be held for that office on the second Tuesday of February.”

Craig, 48, whose term ends in January, now faces a Feb. 9 special election.

The congresswoman won the seat in 2018 after losing two years earlier in part because of a left-wing, third-party candidate. Kistner was running a serious race against Craig, but the Democrat was well-funded and the seat was not seen as a top Republican target.

The special election could be competitive. President Trump narrowly won the district south of the Twin Cities with 46 percent of the vote, edging out Hillary Clinton due to a high share of votes for third-party candidates.

Minnesota has experienced the death of a candidate in the middle of a campaign before. In 2002, Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash, and Democrats hurriedly nominated former vice president Walter Mondale to replace him.

That led to confusion about ballots already cast for Wellstone, which, to Democrats’ detriment, were not counted for Mondale. The state subsequently changed the law, requiring a new election if a “major party” candidate dies within 79 days of Election Day. The old problem — what to do with votes for a dead candidate — was gone because the parties no longer would replace that candidate on the ballot. It would be settled by a special election.

The election law, passed in 2013, may face legal scrutiny. The date of federal elections has been set at the first Tuesday of November for nearly 150 years, by Congress. If Minnesota’s law, never tested, were superseded, votes that started being cast last week might be tallied; if seated, the winner would serve for a month before a special election.

The Legal Marijuana Now Party, a 22-year-old left-wing party, was able to gain “major party” status based on 2018 results. Minnesota grants “major party” status to any party that gets more than 5 percent of the vote in the previous election, and in 2018, as Democrats swept Minnesota’s statewide races, 5.3 percent of voters opted for the Legal Marijuana Now Party’s candidate for state auditor.

That created a problem for Democrats this year, and the party filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Weeks, whose social media posts suggested that he supported Republicans and who was not filing required paperwork about his finances.

Craig issued a statement this week about Weeks.

“I was deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of Adam Weeks’s passing earlier this week,” Craig said, adding that she and her spouse, Cheryl Greene, were “praying for the Weeks family

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Policing, criminal justice issues at the forefront in Dallas County race for Texas House

An already combative race for an eastern Dallas County statehouse seat grew even more contentious this week when Republican challenger Will Douglas questioned Democratic incumbent Rhetta Bowers’ support for local police.

“I’d like to push back on on the idea that Rep. Bowers supports local services,” Douglas said during an interview Monday with The Dallas Morning News’ editorial board. “I’m pretty sure Rep. Bowers chose not to sign Gov. [Greg] Abbott’s pledge to not defund the police. That brings me to another point of where representative Bowers and I differ. I’m a strong supporter of our law enforcement.”

“So am I,” Bowers cut in.

Douglas’ snipe came after Bowers fielded a question about her opposition to last year’s bill to cap a local government’s property tax revenue increase at 3.5%. Bowers said she opposed it because the city and county officials in her district told her it could harm their ability to fund public services like police, fire and emergency responders.

Bowers, who accused Douglas of being divisive, said he is distorting her record.

“My opponent has been very accusatory of me, not knowing me at all,” she fired back. “I am not about defunding the police. I fought hard for law enforcement when I was in the Legislature, and I took it as a great honor, and still do, to serve.”

Support for police has become a wedge issue since activists began calling for “defunding the police” after the death of George Floyd in May at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. The issue gained more attention as cities like Austin began reallocating resources away from policing and toward social services to address issues, like homelessness and mental illness, that police encounter on a regular basis.

Abbott, a Republican, seized on the political opportunity to create a ‘Back the Blue’ pledge and asked lawmakers and citizens to sign it to show their support. The GOP sees the issue as an easy way to peel off voters in competitive races like House District 113, where Bowers is facing her first re-election campaign. The district covers parts of Dallas, Balch Springs, Garland, Mesquite, Rowlett and Sunnyvale.

Douglas, who has a Black father and a white mother, said reducing funding for police would impact communities of color that are most impacted by violent crime. He said Bowers is trying to stay away from calling it a “defunding” but the end result is the same.

“If your boss tells you he’s going to reallocate your paycheck, I think you’re going to consider yourself defunded,” he said.

Bowers said she has pushed back against the moniker of “defunding the police” because it sends the wrong message. But Bowers, who is also Black, said Douglas is oversimplifying a complicated issue.

Police leaders in her district have told her they need help with homeless people. Because of that, Bowers filed a bill last session that required more training for officers on how to interact with homeless people. The bill did not pass.

After Floyd’s death,

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Hood and Zandstra face off in 76th state House District race

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — State Rep. Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids, faces Republican challenger Doug Zandstra in the Nov. 3 general election for Michigan’s 76th House District seat.

Hood is seeking a second, two-year term representing the district that includes the north and southeast parts of the city of Grand Rapids.

But Zandstra, a self-employed accountant, is looking to flip the seat that has long been held by a Democrat.

Here is a look at the two candidates:

  • Hood, 43, of Grand Rapids, is finishing her first term represented the 76th District. Prior to being elected to the legislature, she was the senior project manager for Dig Deep Research. She also cites her experience as former executive director at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, public relations manager at Metro Health, and executive director at West Grand Neighborhood Organization. She said her bachelor’s degree is in social relations and policy from Michigan State University’s James Madison College.
  • Zandstra, 50, of Grand Rapids, shares in his profile that he has 25 years of experience as a Certified Public Accountant helping individuals and businesses navigate through complex financial issues enabling them to succeed. As a moderate Republican, he says he can work across the table. is a self-employed accountant. He said he earned a bachelors degree in accounting from Calvin College.

MLive Media Group partnered with the League of Women Voters of Michigan to provide candidate information for readers. Each candidate was asked to outline their stances on a variety of public policy issues.

Information on all state and federal races and many of Michigan’s county and local races is available at Vote411.org, an online voter guide created by the League of Women Voters.

Below are Hood and Zandstra’s unedited responses to five policy questions from education to economic security.

What is your position on the role of public funding of education in Michigan? What measures do you support/propose to improve educational outcomes and accessibility for all Michigan students?

Hood: For too long, Michigan has fallen behind in funding quality public education. We need to ensure teachers have resources like textbooks, technology, and hands-on learning opportunities to provide quality education to our students. We need to continue to increase funding for our public schools. In addition, we also need to expand access to higher education for all Michigan students who seek it including free two year community college/trade school and increased financial aid to those attending four year universities. For profit charter, public, and cyber schools should be held to the same transparency standards.

Zandstra: More funding as a percentage needs to go towards the education of students and less towards administration. With the fall budget crisis and uncertainty looming, schools are going to have to be innovative in their approach towards classroom learning and remote learning. I would support unlocking and expansion of the 529 program, as well as more limitations to the increase in tuition costs. I support school of choice, I will programs that include more parent involvement such as

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Hood and Zandstra faceoff in 76th state House District race

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — State Rep. Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids, faces Republican challenger Doug Zandstra in the Nov. 3 general election for Michigan’s 76th House District seat.

Hood is seeking a second, two-year term to represent the district that includes the north and southeast parts of the city of Grand Rapids.

But Zandstra, a self employed accountant, is looking to flip the seat that has long been held by a Democrat.

Here is a look at the two candidates:

Hood, 43, of Grand Rapids, is finishing her first term represented the 76th District. Prior to being elected to the legislature, she was the senior project manager for Dig Deep Research. She also cites her experience as former executive director at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, public relations manager at Metro Health, and executive director at West Grand Neighborhood Organization. She said her bachelor’s degree is in social relations and policy from Michigan State University’s James Madison College.

Zandstra, 50, of Grand Rapids, shares in his profile that he has 25 years of experience as a Certified Public Accountant helping individuals and businesses navigate through complex financial issues enabling them to succeed. As a moderate Republican, he says he can work across the table. is a self-employed accountant. He said he earned a bachelors degree in accounting from Calvin College.

MLive Media Group partnered with the League of Women Voters of Michigan to provide candidate information for readers. Each candidate was asked to outline their stances on a variety of public policy issues.

Information on all state and federal races and many of Michigan’s county and local races is available at Vote411.org, an online voter guide created by the League of Women Voters.

Below are Hood and Zandstra’s unedited responses to five policy questions from education to economic security.

What is your position on the role of public funding of education in Michigan? What measures do you support/propose to improve educational outcomes and accessibility for all Michigan students?

Hood: For too long, Michigan has fallen behind in funding quality public education. We need to ensure teachers have resources like textbooks, technology, and hands-on learning opportunities to provide quality education to our students. We need to continue to increase funding for our public schools. In addition, we also need to expand access to higher education for all Michigan students who seek it including free two year community college/trade school and increased financial aid to those attending four year universities. For profit charter, public, and cyber schools should be held to the same transparency standards.

Zandstra: More funding as a percentage needs to go towards the education of students and less towards administration. With the fall budget crisis and uncertainty looming, schools are going to have to be innovative in their approach towards classroom learning and remote learning. I would support unlocking and expansion of the 529 program, as well as more limitations to the increase in tuition costs. I support school of choice, I will programs that include more parent

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In the Presidential Race, What Happens in an Electoral College Tie? | America 2020

In mid-July, with many polls showing a blowout lead for Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the presidential race, Fox News host Chris Wallace pressed his television show guest, President Donald Trump, to “give a direct answer” on whether he would accept the outcome of November’s presidential election. Trump demurred. “I have to see. Look … I have to see,” the president replied. “No, I’m not going to just say yes.”

Trump’s reply angered many critics, who called it anti-democratic, and it served to inject another layer of uncertainty into an election process that’s also been shaken by COVID-19, the administration’s attacks on the U.S. Postal Service, and persistent Russian meddling, among other issues. But there’s another, rarely discussed Election Day scenario that could potentially thrust the country into extended political turmoil: a tied Electoral College.

“I don’t think that we’re prepared for a contingent election at all,” says Robert Alexander, a professor of political science at Ohio Northern University and an expert on the Electoral College. “As tumultuous and chaotic as the last several years have been, I can only imagine that would be amplified in the weeks following a tie vote in the Electoral College.”

Cartoons on the 2020 Election

Recent American history, of course, has produced two highly unusual presidential elections. In 2000, more than one month after votes had been cast, the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately halted Florida’s infamous recount effort, confirming a tiny electoral vote victory for George W. Bush.

Just four years ago, Trump lost the popular vote to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes, but he still won a comfortable Electoral College margin (304 to Clinton’s 227).

But the Electoral College hasn’t actually been tied since 1800, when a new party nominating system resulted in a split between then vice president Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, with each man receiving 73 electoral votes. (After 36 ballots, Congress finally settled on President Jefferson, with Burr going on to serve a term as his vice president.)

This year, under one scenario modelled by the political website 270toWin, the country’s 538 electoral votes could end up evenly divided if swing states Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia turn for Biden while Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia and Ohio vote for Trump. This scenario also hinges on Biden winning four out of a possible nine combined votes from Maine and Nebraska’s unique “congressional district method,” where those two states each allocate two electoral votes to the overall state popular vote winner and one electoral vote to the winner in each congressional district. Maine, with four electoral votes, is projected for Biden; Nebraska, with five, is a safe bet for Trump.

Still, an overall 269-269 tie remains decidedly unlikely, but it is possible.

“Close elections are actually the rule when it comes to the Electoral College,” says Alexander, who points out that about half of all Electoral College decisions have been decided by 75,000 voters or fewer. “It would take

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