North Dakota politician who died from coronavirus wins House race
North Dakota residents elected a dead man to the state legislature Tuesday.
Republican David Andahl, 55, died Oct. 5 after a short battle with coronavirus. Less than a month later, Bismarck voters sent him and running mate Dave Nehring to the state House of Representatives out of District 8.
Early Wednesday morning results had Andahl garnering about 35% of the vote in the district, with only Nehring beating him at about 40%, according to the state election board.
State Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem ruled last month that all votes cast for Andahl should still be counted and that, if he won, a vacancy would be created in his seat. The seat could then be filled either by a legislative member’s party or by voters in a special election.
District 8 Republican Chairman Loren DeWitz said an appointment would “be open to anybody who would like to” seek it, according to the Bismarck Tribune.
“I want it to be wide open and fair," he told the paper.
Andahl, a cattle rancher and race car driver, was hospitalized for four days in early October after testing positive for coronavirus.
“He had a lot of feelings for his county and his country and wanting to make things better, and his heart was in farming. He wanted things better for farmers and the coal industry,” his mother, Pat Andahl, told the Tribune after his death.
"So many things he was very passionate about, and was hoping that he could get into the Legislature and be of some help. He was looking forward to it. He was looking forward to being part of that.”