Republican David Andahl, a North Dakota state legislative candidate who died from Covid-19 in October, won his election Tuesday night. The Republican Party will replace Andahl's seat with another candidate.
Andahl and another Republican Dave Nehring ran for the election to represent the 8th District. North Dakota's each of the 47 House districts elects two representatives. Andahl and Nehring together received 76 percent of the total votes, 35 percent of which went to the deceased candidate gained.
"Our court follows the majority of states that use the 'American' rule, where votes cast for the deceased candidate should be counted. If a deceased candidate receives the majority of the votes, the candidate is elected," North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said last month. "However, if the prevailing candidate has died, the candidate is no longer qualified and a vacancy will exist. State law provides the process to fill vacancies of a legislative office."
In June, Andahl and Nehring defeated longtime incumbent Rep. Jeff Delzer in the primary. The 55-year tested positive for coronavirus. He died on Oct. 5 — four days after being hospitalized, his mother Pat Andahl told The Bismarck Tribune at the time. She said her son was "very careful" about the novel coronavirus and he wanted to serve his county and the country.
"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 said. "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."
Andahl was unmarried and did not have children, but his Rottweiler, Hank, "was the love of his life," according to Pat. "He was his companion all the time," she said.
North Dakota recorded over 47,000 Covid-19 cases and 561 deaths so far since the beginning of the pandemic. On Tuesday, 1,172 new cases were reported and 16 deaths.