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Minnesota Senate District 2 candidate's eligibility, residency contested

The residency and eligibility to run for Minnesota Senate District 2 of candidate Edward Strickland is being questioned after a petition was filed alleging he lives in a city near St. Paul, and not in District 2.

Election 2022 in United States
Election 2022
(gguy - stock.adobe.com)
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BEMIDJI — A petition has been filed to remove a candidate from the ballot for Minnesota Senate District 2, which alleges that Edward Strickland does not live in the district or meet the election’s residency requirements.

Strickland filed as a Republican candidate for District 2 on May 25, where he would face Rep. Steve Green in the state’s primary on Aug. 9 for the party’s nomination.

However, Strickland listed an address outside of District 2 in his affidavit of candidacy and instead provided an address in Maplewood a city east of St. Paul in Ramsey County, which would put him in District 44.

Edward Strickland.jfif
Edward Strickland

Strickland, who in speaking with the Pioneer admitted he does not live in District 2, would therefore be ineligible to run for that seat since he would not meet the residency requirements.

As to how he came to file for District 2, Strickland said it was “absolutely no mistake” on his part, and that someone else is to blame for the error.

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“How does a so-called typo of District 2 happen?” Strickland said when reached out to for comment. “They know I’m in Ramsey County, I’ve lived there all my life.”

Regardless of how the mixup occurred, a petition to remove Strickland from the ballots for the upcoming primary was filed on June 9 by District 2 resident Jim Landis, involving the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Secretary of State and the District 2 county auditors.

Strickland has called the petition against his candidacy “undeniable harassment” and has filed a countersuit seeking $3 million for the potential loss of his campaign.

“What is in fact really happening is a dark blue cult that has been slandering, harassing and using surveillance of my home and car will not permit me the legal right to be a Minnesota State Senate candidate,” Strickland said in the court complaint.

He also believes he has been persecuted, targeted and under surveillance by those who don’t want him to run for office.

“I come in as a person that’s been persecuted … you’re talking to a Christian man who has done nothing wrong,” Strickland said. “The NWO (New World Order) does not want you in their game.”

According to Strickland, his name should simply be redirected to the correct district’s senate primary race.

“That was a typo, let’s change that to the correct (district),” Strickland said. “That’s how simple it seems, common sense it would be. But no, instead when you’re dealing with politics you’re in the supreme court.”

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Heading to court

Printing ballots for the primary races have already begun, however, making it unlikely that Strickland’s name can be removed from the District 2 primary or that it could be added to another race.

“It is not possible to add or remove races from the primary ballot without imposing severe costs and administrative difficulties on the counties and their ballot vendors,” said David Maeda, the state’s director of elections in a document that’s part of the court case.

If the petitioner wanted to remove Strickland’s name from the ballot, his residency would have had to be contested by June 1. As it currently stands, it is now the court’s responsibility to verify Strickland’s address and eligibility.

“The Office of the Secretary of State has no firsthand knowledge pertaining to Mr. Strickland’s residence,” Maeda said in the document.

Even though Strickland’s name is unlikely to be taken off the ballot, if the court finds that he does not reside in District 2 it is possible for the State Canvassing Board to simply not canvas the District 2 Senate primary race.

If Strickland is ineligible to run, Green, as the only eligible Republican candidate, would automatically earn the party’s nomination.

“There will be no major party with more than one candidate running in Senate District 2 and thus no primary would be needed under state law,” Maeda said. “The District 2 Senate primary will merely not be canvassed.”

For this solution to be effective, however, a decision from the court on Strickland’s eligibility would be necessary before Aug. 16, when the State Canvassing Board meets to review the primary elections.

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After recent redistricting, Senate District 2 now includes the entire counties of Beltrami, Clearwater, Lake of the Woods and Mahnomen along with portions of Itasca, Cass, Hubbard and Becker, along with Red Lake, Leech Lake and White Earth Nations.

Alan Roy, a Becker County resident and U.S. Army veteran, received the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's endorsement for District 2 on May 1.

Nicole Ronchetti is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer, focusing on local government and community health.
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