The 2nd CD special will be just the sixth in state history following a nation-leading 175 consecutive U.S. House elections without a special

The death of Legal Marijuana Now 2nd Congressional District nominee Adam Weeks last Monday triggered a Minnesota law pushing back the election to February of next year.

Ballots have been printed and voting has already begun in Minnesota, but the contest between freshman U.S. Representative Angie Craig (pictured), Republican Tyler Kistner, and Weeks will not count and a special election will be conducted February 9, 2021 with Craig, Kistner, and an as yet unnamed Legal Marijuana Now nominee.

As a result, Minnesota’s 2nd CD seat will be vacant for at least 37 days beginning January 3rd.

The February 9th special will be just the sixth in Minnesota history, and the first in the state in nearly 44 years.

Only 10 states have gone longer without a special U.S. House election – all with much smaller populations (and thus fewer seats in the chamber): Idaho (which has never held a special for the office), Delaware (1900), New Hampshire (1932), Maine (1951), Nebraska (1951), Iowa (1959), North Dakota (1963), Rhode Island (1967), Vermont (1972), and Alaska (1973).

Following the November 2020 election, Minnesota will have hosted 175 U.S. House elections since its last special – more than any other state. Iowa is next with 173 followed by Tennessee (144), Colorado (124), Idaho (122), and Nebraska (110).

Minnesota held 173 elections to the office from statehood through 1918 before its first special election in 1919.

Three-term Congressman Carl Van Dyke – the only Democrat elected to the U.S. House from the state in the 1914, 1916, and 1918 elections – died in office on May 20, 1919, leaving the St. Paul-based 4th CD vacant for 42 days.

No party primaries were held for the July 1st special in which independent Oscar Keller defeated Republican attorney Carl Cummins by 12 points with Democratic (Richard O’Brien) and Socialist (C.R. Carlgren) nominees rounding out the field.

Interestingly, Keller had lost to Cummins at the GOP nominating convention, only to win as an independent with a plurality of the vote. Keller would serve three additional terms as a Republican before placing a distant third in the 1926 Republican primary won by Melvin Maas.

It would be a decade before the next special U.S. House election in Minnesota with two held in 1929.

The first of these contests however, did not require a vacancy.

Six-term Republican Walter Newton of the Minneapolis-based 5th CD was appointed secretary to President Herbert Hoover effective June 30, 1929.

The exit date was announced with enough notice for the Republican Party to hold a primary (on June 10th), with the special held on June 17th.

Three-term sitting GOP Lieutenant Governor William Nolan was elected by 6.8 points over future Democratic congressman Einar Hoidale with a plurality 46.6 percent. Former Republican U.S. Representative (and future Farmer-Labor U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator) Ernest Lundeen placed a distant third.

Later that year, four-term Farmer-Laborite Ole Kvale died on September 11, 1929 leaving his central-western 7th CD seat vacant for 35 days until the special election on October 16th.

A Republican primary election was scheduled for October 9, 1929 between Morris Tribune editor J.C. Morrison, J.M. Haughland of Montevideo, and Lawrence Carlson of Renville. But Haughland and Carlson withdrew from the race as did Democratic nominee C.B. Johnson of Willmar.

Democrats endorsed Farmer-Labor nominee Paul Kvale, son and private secretary to the deceased congressman who defeated Morrison in a landslide by 46.3 points.

Kvale would serve five terms in the chamber.

It would be more than a quarter-century until the next special election when Republican U.S. Representative August Andresen died during his 16th non-consecutive term on January 14, 1958.

The southern Minnesota 1st CD seat would be vacant for 35 days with state Senator Al Quie winning a seven-candidate GOP primary and then defeating 29 year-old attorney Eugene Foley from Wabasha by 0.7 points.

The special remains the 12th most narrowly decided U.S. House election in Minnesota history. Quie would serve 11 terms and then four years as governor.

Nearly two decades later, the last Minnesota U.S. House special election was held after the resignation of DFLer Bob Bergland on January 22, 1977 to become U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Jimmy Carter.

The northwestern 7th CD seat was vacant for 31 days and filled by former Republican state Representative Arlan Stangeland who won the four-candidate field by 20.9 points over former Bergland aide Mike Sullivan.

Stangeland would win seven terms before losing the 1990 general election to current 7th CD Congressman Collin Peterson.

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