Republican Rancher Killed By COVID-19 Wins Seat In North Dakota Legislature

In a race that – one could argue – has come to symbolize the American electorate’s feelings toward COVID-19 and the virus’s impact on their votes, a “Trump Republican” running for a seat in North Dakota’s state legislature has handily defeated his Democratic opponent – despite having succumbed to COVID-19 weeks ago.

David Andahl

The candidate, David Andahl, a Bismack rancher who died on Oct. 5 after winning a tough primary against an incumbent committee chairman, won the seat after winning the endorsement of Sen. Kevin Cramer, a fellow Republican who said “we need more Trump Republicans in the State Legislature,” according to Politico.

North Dakota has seen a surge in new cases over the last month, though its mortality rate has only just begun to creep higher. Andahl won a seat in ND’s eighth district, along with another Republican, who won the district’s other seat.

The rancher was hospitalized for four days in October before ultimately succumbing to the virus.

“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,” Andahl’s mother.

“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.”

ND State Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has determined that Andahl’s votes should be counted and that, should he win, his seat must be held vacant. The vacancy could then be filled either by a legislative member’s party or by voters in a special election.

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