Politics and Government

Minnesota congressional candidate Paula Overby dies

Updated 1:10 p.m.

Paula Overby, the Legal Marijuana Now candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s 2nd District, died Wednesday.

A woman in front of an image of the U.S. Capitol
Paula Overby
Courtesy of Paula Overby

Overby’s son Tyler told MPR News she had a heart valve problem and had been hospitalized for the past two weeks, but that he had expected her to recover.

Overby has run for the seat before as a third party candidate. In 2016 she got nearly 8 percent of the vote in the district. Overby was 68.

Tyler Overby said he will miss Paula’s advice.

“I guess her ability to help no matter what problem you had without being condescending,” he said. “She was just really good at being a guide to you figuring out yourself or what you needed.”

The 2nd District race between incumbent DFLer Angie Craig and Republican Tyler Kistner is seen as one of the most competitive House races in the country. 

Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel, who was in Minnesota Tuesday campaigning for Kistner said it was probably the second most expensive House campaign in the country.

“This is a very sad day for Minnesota’s Second District,” Kistner said in a statement. “Paula Overby cared deeply about our state, and the principles she believed in. It was an honor to have gotten to know Paula throughout this campaign. My thoughts and prayers go out to Paula's family and friends during this difficult time.”

Craig also released a statement. “Cheryl and I were saddened to hear of Paula Overby’s passing this morning, and we are sending our deepest condolences to Paula’s family and friends at this difficult time,” Craig said. “Minnesota is better for her involvement in our community and she will be missed.”

“She’ll be greatly missed,” said Legal Marijuana Now Party Chair Tim Davis of Overby. “This has come up so suddenly.”

By coincidence, a marijuana party candidate running for the 2nd District seat two years ago also died shortly before the election. State law called for a special election in February, but that law was superseded by federal election laws, which said no special election was needed. 

Secretary of State Steve Simon’s office issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, citing the 2020 precedent.

“In 2021, a federal district court ruled that Minnesota’s statute governing vacancies in nomination is preempted by federal law and does not apply to a race for U.S. Congress,” the statement said. “In the absence of any other court order, the November 8, 2022 ballots will remain as printed, and the Congressional District 2 election will proceed as scheduled on November 8, 2022.”