A man who died from the coronavirus appears to have won a seat in North Dakota's state legislature, according to unofficial election results.
David Andahl, 55, was a Republican nominee for one of two District 8 House seats in the November general election. He and his running mate Dave Nehring, of Bismarck, were leading their Democrat counterparts with around 35% and 41% of votes, respectively, early Wednesday, results showed.
Andahl died Oct. 5 after being sick with COVID-19 for about four days, his mother told the Bismarck Tribune.
"So many things he was very passionate about, and was hoping that he could get into the Legislature and be of some help," his mother, Pat Andahl, told the Tribune last month. "He was looking forward to it. He was looking forward to being part of that."
State Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem issued an opinion earlier stating that votes for Andahl should still be counted and that a vacancy would be created if he is elected.
"To disregard the votes cast for a candidate would disenfranchise the voters of the state," Stenehjem wrote.
Under a state law cited in the attorney general's opinion, a vacancy could be appointed by a legislative member's party, or voters could petition for a special election to be called by the governor.
Following Andahl's death, District 8 Republican Chair Loren DeWitz said an appointment would "be open to anybody," including the incumbent, Rep. Jeff Delzer, who Andahl and Nehring defeated in the June primary, the Tribune reported.
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