Dead Republican candidate wins seat in North Dakota after losing battle with COVID-19

A North Dakota man won a seat in the state legislature Tuesday night nearly a month after he died from COVID-19.

David Andahl died on Oct. 5 from the coronavirus. He was 55 years old, a Bismark native, and one of four House candidates running for two seats in the state's 8th district.

Despite his death, Andahl garnered 36% of the vote, good enough to win the seat.

Last month, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said that the state's court system uses the "American" rule, "where votes cast for the deceased candidate should be counted."

"If a deceased candidate receives the majority of the votes, the candidate is elected," Stenehjem said. "However, if the prevailing candidate has died, the candidate is no longer qualified and a vacancy will exist. State law provides the process to fill vacancies of a legislative office."

The state's Republican party is now allowed to appoint his replacement.

Andahl's Facebook page said he served on the Burleigh County Planning & Zoning Commission for 16 years. He was affectionately known as "Dakota Dave." His family noted he had several "health challenges," and was cautious in the months after COVID-19 was ruled a pandemic.
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