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Lesbian Congresswoman Angie Craig Survives GOP Plot to Take Her Down

Angie Craig

A third-party candidate, now deceased, had said Republicans recruited him to draw votes away from Craig, but she won reelection anyway.

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota has won reelection in a race where a third-party candidate said he was recruited to siphon votes from her.

Craig, a lesbian and a Democrat, was reelected in the Second Congressional District, according to the Associated Press, which called the race Thursday. Craig had declared victory already, and Republican opponent Tyler Kistner finally conceded Thursday, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

With 100 percent of the vote in, the AP declared Craig the winner with 48.2 percent, while Kistner had 46 percent and Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate Adam Weeks 5.8 percent.

Weeks died in September, and another candidate sought to stand in for him, but his name remained on the ballot. In October, a friend of his shared a voice mail from May with the Minneapolis Star Tribune in which Weeks said he was recruited by Republicans to "pull votes away" from Craig and therefore help Kistner.

"I swear to God to you, I'm not kidding, this is no joke," Weeks said in the message to friend Joey Hudson, according to the Star Tribune. "They want me to run as a third-party, liberal candidate, which I'm down. I can play the liberal, you know that." He said the party offered him $15,000.

Kistner's campaign staff declined to comment on the matter, as did Craig's. Second District Republican Chairman Jeff Schuette said no one in his organization recruited Weeks, but others in the district could have done so.

In a Facebook Live broadcast Wednesday morning, Craig declared victory, saying, "I am so thrilled to announce that I will be back to represent the Second District." She acknowledged that the counting of votes was ongoing, but that's done now.

The district, which stretches south from Minneapolis-St. Paul and includes suburban and rural areas, had been represented by Republicans from 2001 until Craig's first election victory in 2018. That year she defeated anti-LGBTQ+ and misogynistic Republican incumbent Jason Lewis, a former radio shock jock. This year Lewis ran against U.S. Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota, and he lost.

Kistner said he will continue to argue in court that the election should have been delayed due to Weeks's death, even though he has lost so far, and the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear his appeal.

Craig, a centrist who touts her ability to work across party lines, is the first member of the LGBTQ+ community to represent Minnesota in Congress.

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