A 55-year-old Republican running for the state legislature in North Dakota was elected Tuesday evening –– but he died from COVID-19 last month, according to reports. David Andhal was voted into office with almost 36% of the vote, but his seat in District 8 will now be declared vacant, according to election results.
The district has two elected representatives –– and on election night both the republican candidates defeated their Democratic opponents. Fellow Republication candidate Dave Negring, who won almost 41% of the vote, will hold the second seat, VICE News reported.
Andhal was endorsed by Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) as a "Trump Republican" and he died over two weeks after early voting for military and overseas voters began, VICE reported. He was hospitalized for about four days before he died, his mother told The Bismarck Times.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wrote in an opinion Oct. 13 that the votes casted for Andhal would still be counted and if he were subsequently elected, the seat would ultimately be declared vacant.
“The votes cast for the deceased candidate should be counted,” he wrote. “To disregard the votes cast for a candidate would disenfranchise the voters of the state.”
Andhal's replacement could, however, be appointed by his own party or a special election.
Two years ago, Dennis Hof was elected into Nevada's state legislature with more than twice the vote of his challengers three weeks after her died in his sleep. His seat, similarly, was declared vacant and a replacement was elected, NBC News reported.
North Dakota has spiked dramatically with new COVID-19 cases, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The state has also overwhelmingly voted in favor of President Donald Trump.