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Republican candidate who died of COVID-19 wins North Dakota election

A North Dakota state legislative candidate died from COVID-19 in October — one month before Election Day. David Andahl, a Republican running for the state's House of Representatives won his race on Tuesday. Now, there is a dispute over what to do with his empty seat.

Andahl, 55, had been hospitalized and died after being sick for about four days, according to his mother Pat Andahl, who told The Bismarck Tribune in October.

Andahl's mother said that her son had been "very careful" about the pandemic. She also described his passion about the prospect of serving in government, and "had a lot of feelings for his county."  

"His heart was in farming. He wanted things better for farmers and the coal industry," she said.

David Andahl
David Andahl seen in an undated photo. DavidAndahl.com

Andahl was running alongside fellow District 8 candidate David Nehring, who won 40.72% of the vote, while Andahl won 35.53%, according to state data. Nehring will now advance to the state legislature. 

As for the seat that was meant to be filled by Andahl, the state's attorney general shot down the governor's attempt to fill it, just one day after the election.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Governor Doug Burgum has no authority to appoint a replacement. This comes after the governor announced Wednesday that he was appointing a cola company executive, Wade Boeshans of BNI Energy, to the seat, according to the AP.

Stenehjem called the appointment on the day following the election "inaccurate and untimely."

CBS News has reached out to Stenehjem and Burgum for more information and is awaiting response.

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