November 6, 2020 -- A political candidate who died from the coronavirus on Oct. 5 was elected to a seat in the North Dakota state legislature on Tuesday.
David Andahl got 35.53% of the votes, enough to win one of two seats for North Dakota’s 8th district, according to the North Dakota Secretary of State’s webpage. Dave Nehring earned 40.72% to win the second seat.
The state already knew about the death of Andahl, 55, a Republican businessman and rancher.
The state attorney general had earlier issued an opinion saying that if Andahl won, the situation would be treated as if he’d stepped down, leaving the district’s Republican Party to appoint someone to fill the seat, according to a story in the Grand Forks Herald.
Andahl graduated from North Dakota State University and had worked as a professional driver, a driving instructor, and a contractor, his obituary said. He also was a partner and general manager of 4T Ranch north of Bismarck, which has been in the Andahl family for three generations.
At the moment, North Dakota is one of the states hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 1,100 new cases have been reported the last 2 days and the testing positivity rate is a very high 14%, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
Overall, the state has recorded more than 48,000 cases and 567 COVID-related deaths.
Andahl is not the first candidate to be elected after dying. CNN reported that it’s happened at least five times since 2000.
In 2018, brothel owner Dennis Hof, 72, was elected to the Nevada state legislature after his death, CNN said.