The plexiglass dividers that will separate Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris when they face off at their debate tonight in Salt Lake City will serve as powerful reminders of how the coronavirus has upended the presidential campaign and life in America.
A pandemic that has killed more than 210,000 people in the U.S. and cost millions of jobs was always going to be front and center in the campaign, but the physical dividers — the subject of a mini-debate about the debate when aides to Mr. Pence briefly objected to them — underscore the extent to which the outbreak has spread in recent days through the top levels of government, infecting President Trump, military leaders and several members of the Senate.
The outbreak served as a grim reminder of the main role of a vice president: to be able to step in and lead should the president become incapacitated or die.
Ms. Harris, still a relative newcomer to national politics who arrived in Washington as a senator in 2017, will have to make the case that she is ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. And Mr. Pence, the head of the White House coronavirus task force, will likely have to defend the government’s response to the virus — an effort that lagged behind other developed countries in Europe and Asia.
Both candidates have been preparing carefully. Mr. Pence went to Salt Lake City with two core players in his debate prep: Marc Short, his chief of staff, and the former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who played Ms. Harris in several formal 90-minute debate prep sessions that were held with the answers timed. (Aides said that Mr. Pence likes to prepare with people he feels comfortable with, and so they chose Mr. Walker — who had helped him prepare for his debate four years ago — rather than someone who was trying to look or sound like his opponent.)
At Ms. Harris’s mock debate sessions, Mr. Pence was played by Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., who ran in the Democratic presidential primary. Mr. Buttigieg was selected, aides said, for his debating skills and also because of his knowledge of Mr. Pence’s record as governor in their shared home state, Indiana.
As they prepare for their debate, Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris are confronting an electorate that is more or less divided. About one-fifth of voters say they don’t have much of an opinion of each candidate, but among those who do, strong opinions outnumber mildly favorable or unfavorable views.
Here’s what polling can tell us about the candidates and the debate.
Has Pence’s role in the virus response affected views of him?
Ms. Harris is unlikely to let Mr. Pence easily escape the fact that he was appointed to lead the White House’s coronavirus response — an effort that a wide majority of Americans not only disapprove of, but also have come to resent.
More than two-thirds of Americans said in an Axios/Ipsos poll late last month that they had little confidence in the federal government to look out for their best interests when it comes to the pandemic.
Still, in CNN polling conducted after President Trump announced his positive coronavirus test results on Friday, 62 percent of Americans said they thought Mr. Pence was qualified to serve as president. Just 35 percent said they didn’t think so. (Men were 12 points more likely than women to find him qualified.)
Harris is the only top candidate with net-positive ratings, but not by a lot.
Ms. Harris tends to fare slightly better than Mr. Pence in public perception and, on average, national polling shows that more Americans view her positively than negatively. In a Monmouth poll from early September, 43 percent gave her positive marks, and 37 percent saw her negatively. As with Mr. Pence, one in five said they had no opinion.
How will the fight over the virus and the debate itself play?
Despite widespread concern over the virus, recent polling showed that a large majority of Americans wanted the debates to go forward. More than three-quarters of likely voters in both Pennsylvania and Florida told New York Times/Siena College pollsters last week that they thought the other two presidential debates should go ahead as planned. But many of those respondents were contacted before Mr. Trump announced he had tested positive.
In the CNN poll taken after his diagnosis was made public, 63 percent of Americans said they thought the president had acted irresponsibly toward those around him in handling the risk of infection. That included more than seven in 10 women, and even a majority of white people without college degrees, a core Trump constituency.
While he has tested negative in recent days, Mr. Pence attended a White House event that has been linked to numerous officials who have since tested positive. Medical experts say there is still a chance that he could be carrying the virus.
Americans have consistently said in polls that they preferred to lean toward caution on lifting virus restrictions.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. has strengthened his advantage in a range of key swing states that President Trump won four years ago, according to a batch of state polls conducted after last week’s presidential debate and released on Wednesday.
Taken together, the surveys indicated that as the coronavirus continues to dominate voters’ attention — with an outbreak in Washington now affecting a number of top Republicans, including Mr. Trump himself — it remains a stark liability for the president.
Quinnipiac University surveys in Pennsylvania and Florida each showed Mr. Biden with a double-digit lead among likely voters, up 13 percentage points in Pennsylvania and 11 points in Florida. In both states just 40 percent of voters approved of Mr. Trump’s handling of the virus, while more than 55 percent disapproved.
Just a month ago, Mr. Biden’s lead in Florida was a statistically insignificant three points. Since then, Mr. Trump’s net favorability rating among voters in the state dropped from negative five to negative 16 — while Mr. Biden’s flipped from negative five to positive seven.
A separate Quinnipiac poll in Iowa found Mr. Biden with a five-point edge over the president — within that survey’s margin of error, but nonetheless encouraging for the Democrat in a state that Mr. Trump won by almost 10 points in 2016.
Mr. Biden also clings to a steady, if slim, advantage over Mr. Trump in Wisconsin, according to a Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday — 46 percent to 41 percent among likely voters.
Marquette’s polling in Wisconsin has reflected the steadiness of a race in which voters largely know where they stand: The university has released five polls of likely voters in Wisconsin since June, and in each, Mr. Biden has held a single-digit lead that was within the poll’s margin of error, as it was here.
But if there are any small billows of momentum, they appear to be breaking Mr. Biden’s way. His 48 percent approval rating was the best in any Marquette poll in Wisconsin this year, capping a 14-point rise since February.
In an indicator of how prominent the coronavirus remains in voters’ minds, Marquette found that more than six in 10 Wisconsin voters described themselves as at least fairly worried about the pandemic — including 27 percent who said they were very worried, up from 21 percent last month. Wisconsin has the third most new virus cases per capita in the country in the past week, with over 17,000 cases.
Fully 50 percent of Wisconsin voters said they did not expect the virus to be under control for another year or more.
The family of an Arizona woman who was captured, tortured and then killed by members of the Islamic State will be guests of Vice President Mike Pence at his first debate against Senator Kamala Harris, an administration official said.
Kayla Mueller was on a humanitarian mission to Turkey when she was captured in 2013. Two years later, officials determined that she had been killed in captivity. The debate is taking place the same day that two notorious Islamic State detainees were extradited from Britain.
Mr. Pence’s aides are seeking to draw a contrast between President Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who had urged caution when the Obama administration discussed the raid that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Carl and Marsha Mueller, Ms. Mueller’s parents, spoke at the Republican National Convention at the end of August. They said they believed that their daughter would have been rescued if Mr. Trump had been in office at the time.
A box fan, an air filter — and duct tape to attach them. With four such devices cobbled together for a grand total of about $150, the vice-presidential debate on Wednesday night can be made much safer than with the plexiglass barriers being used, according to experts in airborne viruses.
Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris will be seated more than 12 feet apart, with barriers between them. But the barriers will do nothing to protect Ms. Harris if Mr. Pence is infected and exhaling virus that can be carried through the air, experts said.
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines indicating that indoors, the virus can be carried aloft by aerosols — tiny droplets — farther than six feet. In one study in August, scientists found infectious virus at a distance of 16 feet from an infected patient.
Linsey Marr, an environmental engineering professor at Virginia Tech and an expert in airborne viruses, laughed outright when she saw a picture of the debate setup.
“It’s absurd,” she said. When she first heard there would be a plexiglass barrier, she said, she imagined an enclosure with an open back or top. “But these are even smaller and less adequate than I imagined.”
Other experts said the barriers would have made some sense if the debaters were seated close together.
“Those plexiglass barriers are really only going to be effective if the vice president or Kamala Harris are spitting at each other,” said Ellie Murray, an epidemiologist at Boston University.
“Those are really just splatter shields.”
“At 12 feet 3 inches apart, spray droplet transmission is not the issue,” said Donald Milton, an aerosol expert at the University of Maryland. “What is the ventilation like? What is the direction of the airflow?”
Dr. Milton and his colleagues contacted the debate commission and both campaigns to recommend purchasing plug-and-play air filters — excellent ones run to just about $300 each — or four box fans and air filters taped together. Each debater would have one device positioned to suck up and clean the air exhaled, and another to produce clean air.
In research conducted with singers over the past few months, they have found that this so-called “Corsi box” — named for Richard Corsi, the scientist who cobbled together the first one — can significantly decrease aerosols.
The safest solution, experts said, is to move the debate online.
The debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Kamala Harris takes place on Wednesday night from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Eastern. Here are some of the many ways you can watch it:
The Times will livestream the debate, and our reporters will provide commentary and analysis.
The debate will be televised on channels including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News and MSNBC.
The Roku Channel will carry streams from several news outlets.
The streaming network Newsy will carry the debate on several platforms.
The Texas Supreme Court intervened on two closely watched voting issues on Wednesday, blocking Houston election officials from sending out mail-in ballot applications to more than 2 million voters and upholding Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to extend the timetable for early voting because of the pandemic.
The rulings by the all-Republican court delivered a split decision for political parties: Democrats had supported efforts to send out ballot applications, and Republicans had sought to quash the expansion of early voting.
Governor Abbott, a Republican, had added six days to Texas early voting, which is now set to begin on Oct. 13. The chairman of the Republican Party of Texas and other conservatives challenged the governor’s order, arguing that he did not have the power to impose it.
The court’s other decision overturned the Harris County clerk’s plans to send mail-in ballot applications to all 2.4 million registered voters in heavily Democratic Harris County, home to Houston.
State officials said the move defied the state’s restrictive absentee voting law, which permits mail-in balloting only for voters 65 or older, those with disabilities, voters who plan to be out of their home county and eligible voters confined in jail. But the clerk, Chris Hollins, said he wanted all voters to have clear guidance on their options during the pandemic.
In its ruling, the court noted that only a “small percentage” of Harris County voters would be eligible to cast mail-in ballots under state law and concluded that the election code did not authorize an elections administrator to send a mail-in ballot application to “a voter who has not requested one.” Permitting the mass mailing of unsolicited applications, the court ruled, would result in “irreparable injury to the state.”
Democrats decried the decision. “Once again, the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court steps into this election against the interests of voters and a functioning democracy,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, the Texas Democratic Party Chairman.
Texas’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, a Republican, called the ruling on the ballot applications “a huge win for Texas.”
Yet another legal confrontation is also moving forward in the courts over Mr. Abbott’s recent order to limit Texas counties to one location for dropping off mail-in ballots. The Texas chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. became the latest group on Wednesday to file suit charging that the order is unconstitutional and would impose severe hardship on voters.
A few days after nearly 100 ballots were recovered from a dumpster in New Jersey, a Postal Service employee was arrested Wednesday on charges that he intentionally delayed and obstructed the delivery of mail, the authorities said.
The ballots were addressed to voters in West Orange, N.J., by the Essex County Board of Elections, but were found in a trash bin outside of bank in North Arlington, N.J., last Friday with 633 other pieces of mail, including campaign fliers, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark said.
Nicholas Beauchene, 26, of Kearny, N.J., was responsible for delivering the ballots, but willfully discarded them, the office said. He also threw out more than 500 other pieces of mail that were found on Monday in a second dumpster, in North Arlington, prosecutors said.
Investigators said that the dumpster where the ballots were discovered was about one mile from Mr. Beauchene’s home.
Mr. Beauchene was charged with one count of delaying the mail and one count of obstructing the mail. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the first charge, and up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine on the second charge. He was scheduled to appear in federal court in Newark on Wednesday afternoon.
It was not immediately clear if Mr. Beauchene had a lawyer and court documents were not yet available.
Mr. Beauchene’s arrest comes amid heightened anxiety over mail-in voting, which millions of Americans are expected to use to avoid casting ballots in person because of the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump has repeatedly made baseless accusations about widespread fraud in mail-in voting, and the Justice Department has been accused of trying help him push that false narrative by calling attention to small, isolated cases where there were problems.
The Trump administration has faced intense criticism over changes made to the Postal Service that critics say undermines the delivery of mail-in ballots and the integrity of the election.
Biden campaign surrogates played up Vice President Mike Pence’s skill as a debater ahead of his matchup with Senator Kamala Harris on Wednesday, while previewing how Ms. Harris planned to make a case against President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus.
On a call with reporters Wednesday morning, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey called Mr. Pence, a former radio talk-show host, “a formidable debater.”
Symone D. Sanders, a senior adviser for the Biden campaign, cited Mr. Pence’s “history of being a successful debater” and said, “We are not coming in underestimating him,” engaging in the time-honored pre-debate custom of managing expectations.
The Biden campaign made clear that Ms. Harris’s task was to critique Mr. Trump’s record, particularly on the pandemic, which has killed more than 210,000 people in the United States. “This debate is really about President Trump’s failed leadership,” said Liz Allen, Ms. Harris’s communications director.
Ms. Sanders said it was not Ms. Harris’s role to fact-check Mr. Pence, adding that the senator would be “speaking directly to voters at home, not questioning Mike Pence.”
“Mike Pence may not interrupt or shout like Trump did last week,” Ms. Sanders said, “but that doesn’t mean he’s being more truthful.”
As for Ms. Harris’s safety sharing a debate stage with Mr. Pence, given the coronavirus outbreak at the White House, Biden campaign officials indicated they were putting their trust in the safety measures put in place by debate organizers.
“They’ll be 12 feet apart,” Ms. Sanders said, “and we don’t expect them to have any interaction except for the words that they share on the debate stage. And we believe that we’re being safe.”
Joseph R. Biden Jr. maintains a steady lead over President Trump in Nevada and the two are virtually tied in Ohio, as voters continue to express dissatisfaction with the president’s handling of the pandemic, according to New York Times/Siena College polls released Wednesday.
Mr. Biden leads 48 percent to 42 percent among likely voters in Nevada and 45 to 44 percent in Ohio, the polls found. Six percent of Nevada voters and seven percent of Ohioans said they remained undecided. The polls, both with margins of error of 4.3 percentage points, were taken after Mr. Trump announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus, and most of the survey took place before Mr. Trump returned to the White House on Monday night from the hospital.
Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of likely voters from Oct. 2 to Oct. 6.
As the two campaigns spar this week over safety precautions for next week’s scheduled debate and whether it should even be held, voters in both states, including about 20 percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters, said that the president did not take adequate steps to protect himself from the virus.
Voters in Nevada said, by a 10-point margin, that they trusted Mr. Biden more than the president to handle the pandemic. In Ohio, Mr. Biden’s advantage on the question was seven points.
About one-third of voters in each state said Mr. Trump did take adequate precautions to protect himself, while 62 percent in Nevada and 58 percent in Ohio said he did not.
And asked how politicians should campaign during the pandemic, just 20 percent of Ohio voters and 28 percent of Nevadans said it was appropriate to appear in person before large crowds. Sixty-five percent of Ohioans and 58 percent of Nevada voters said candidates should campaign only in front of small, socially distanced groups.
The New York Times /
Siena College poll
How should politicians campaign in person? In front of large crowds, or in front of small, socially-distanced crowds?
Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of 1,321 likely voters from Oct. 2 to Oct. 6 in Nevada and Ohio.
Even sizable chunks of Mr. Trump’s own supporters — 37 percent in Ohio and 22 percent in Nevada — found his large rallies inappropriate in the coronavirus era.
“I really wish he had been more of a role model in showing us how to be safe,” said Karen Pellerin, a 57-year-old retiree from Sparks, Nev. “I’m pretty disgusted that he gets out the hospital and walks around the White House with the virus.”
Still, Ms. Pellerin said she planned to vote for Mr. Trump. She said she had “no confidence” in Mr. Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who went from being one of President Trump’s fiercest critics to one of his biggest boosters, faces a much tougher challenge than he expected as he seeks re-election. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report announced Wednesday that it now considers his race against the Democrat Jaime Harrison a toss-up.
Other analysts still rate the race as favoring Mr. Graham: Sabato’s Crystal Ball changed its rating last month to “Leans Republican” from “Likely Republican,” and FiveThirtyEight calls Mr. Graham “favored” to win. Several recent polls have shown the candidates tied, or essentially tied, which is remarkable in South Carolina, a Republican stronghold that Mr. Trump won by 14 percentage points in 2016.
“There has been no more surprising race on the Senate map than South Carolina,” Jessica Taylor wrote in the Cook report.
Mr. Harrison, the first Black chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party and a former Washington lobbyist, has proved to be an adept fund-raiser and a strong candidate.
Mr. Graham’s political evolution has been one of the most striking of the Trump era: During the 2016 campaign he called Mr. Trump a “kook,” “crazy” and “unfit for office,” among other things, before becoming one of his closest allies.
And in 2016 he made a blunt pledge, as he joined other Republicans in blocking President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court on the grounds that it was too close to the election. “I want you to use my words against me,” he said then. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say, ‘Lindsey Graham said, “Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.”’”
But when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died less than two months before the presidential election, Mr. Graham, who oversees the Senate Judiciary Committee, reversed himself, and vowed to move forward swiftly with Mr. Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.
Mr. Harrison has been happy to use Mr. Graham’s words against him, at their debate last Saturday and on Twitter.
In changing the ratings, Cook noted that in a recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 50 percent of likely voters said that they do not believe Mr. Graham is honest, compared with 40 percent who said he was.
But the report noted that the Barrett confirmation hearings could be “one remaining Hail Mary” for Mr. Graham, offering him a chance to remind Republican voters of his ability to help put conservative judges on the bench.
The Manhattan district attorney can enforce a subpoena seeking President Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, a federal appeals panel ruled on Wednesday, dealing yet another blow to the president’s yearlong battle to deny prosecutors his financial records.
The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel in New York rejected the president’s arguments that the subpoena should be blocked because it was too broad and amounted to political harassment from the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat.
“Grand juries must necessarily paint with a broad brush,” the judges wrote.
They concluded that the president did not show that Mr. Vance had been driven by politics. “None of the president’s allegations, taken together or separately, are sufficient to raise a plausible inference that the subpoena was issued ‘out of malice or an intent to harass,’” they wrote.
Mr. Trump is expected to try to appeal the decision in the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Vance has said that his office will not enforce the subpoena for 12 days in exchange for the president’s lawyers agreeing to move quickly.
The decision marks the fifth time courts have rebuffed the president’s attempts to block the subpoena.
The president and Mr. Vance have been locked in a bitterly contested legal dispute since August 2019, when Mr. Vance’s office first subpoenaed eight years of Mr. Trump’s tax returns and other financial records from his accounting firm, Mazars USA. The subpoena is part of an investigation into Mr. Trump and his business practices.
A recent New York Times investigation, based on more than two decades of confidential tax-return data for Mr. Trump and hundreds of his companies, showed that he paid no U.S. income taxes in 11 of the 18 years that The Times examined. He paid only $750 in both 2016 and 2017.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, whose government was accused by American officials of interfering in the 2016 American election to help the Trump campaign, gave a wide-ranging interview on American politics on Wednesday in which he spoke warmly about Democrats.
It was unclear what his goals were — Christopher A. Wray, the director of the F.B.I., warned a House committee last month that Russia was actively pursuing a disinformation campaign against Joseph R. Biden Jr. — but one possibility was that Mr. Putin was reaching out in case Mr. Biden, who leads in the polls, wins the election.
In the interview, Mr. Putin criticized Mr. Biden for what he called anti-Russian rhetoric but said he appreciated the candidate’s positions on arms control and went on to suggest some ideological common ground.
The Democratic Party, he said, is “traditionally closer to liberal values, it is close to the ideas of social democracy,” and these positions could help build contacts with Russia. Mr. Putin noted that he was for 18 years a member of the Soviet Communist Party. “Ever since, I have liked many of the leftist values,” he said.
In domestic politics, Mr. Putin and the ruling United Russia party are seen as well to the right of the post-Soviet Russian Communist Party, though these positions matter little as police repression has squelched most real political competition.
Mr. Putin suggested another intersection of interests in the Soviet Union’s traditional support for civil rights for Blacks. This history could “also become a basis for mutual understanding,” he said.
In the interview on state television, Mr. Putin also said that President Trump, though he had advocated warmer ties with Moscow, had not delivered any breakthroughs. “The intentions President Trump spoke of earlier were not realized,” he said, though without blaming Mr. Trump. Mr. Putin said anti-Russian sentiment in both American parties had hindered any warming of relations.
In foreign affairs, analysts of Russian influence operations say Moscow has supported destabilizing political figures or movements on both the left and the right, in the hopes of undermining Western political unity. Moscow has denied meddling in Western elections.
Last month, in another apparent effort at outreach before the U.S. election, the Kremlin proposed a truce in cyberoperations between the United States and Russia, though without acknowledging cyberattacks in countries from the Ukraine to the United States.
With President Trump trailing badly in the polls and garnering single-digit support from Black voters, his campaign broadcast an advertisement on Sunday voiced by a Black former pro football player touting the president’s support for criminal justice reform.
Jack Brewer, who played for the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, touts Mr. Trump’s record on the pre-pandemic economy and criminal justice reform. He gives explicit permission for Black people who, like Mr. Brewer himself, supported Barack Obama’s campaigns to get behind Mr. Trump’s re-election bid.
“Joe Biden’s America was mass-incarcerating Black men,” Mr. Brewer says. “President Trump set them free.”
Mr. Brewer, 41, might not be the best messenger for Mr. Trump. In August, just weeks before he spoke at the Republican convention, Mr. Brewer, who in his post-football life has worked as an investment adviser, was charged with insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
There is little to quibble with among the facts Mr. Brewer presents in the ad, but he does omit important context. While Mr. Brewer touts Mr. Trump’s commitment to criminal justice reform, the president is waging a parallel campaign painting protesters against unjust policing as a danger to the country. An ad airing in Michigan features a parade of white police officers bemoaning protesters, with one warning: “Joe Biden empowers these people. The more you empower them, the more crime they go to commit.”
Where It’s Running
The Brewer ad aired twice on Sunday during nationwide broadcasts of National Football League games, according to Advertising Analytics. It is a curious strategic decision to spend money broadcasting a national message rather than focusing resources on the battleground states required to win an Electoral College victory.
Earlier this year, Mr. Trump’s top aides believed they could peel significant Black support away from Democrats. The campaign spent millions to air a Super Bowl ad touting Mr. Trump’s criminal justice reform record and his commutation of Alice Johnson’s federal prison sentence.
But between the coronavirus hitting Black people at far higher rates than whites and Mr. Trump’s reflexive support of police officers who have shot or killed Black Americans, he has so far failed to win over Black voters who might have been open to his message months ago.
North Dakota’s top election official said on Wednesday that it was too late to remove from ballot the name of a candidate for State Legislature who died on Monday from Covid-19.
Secretary of State Al Jaeger said that the Republican Party, which nominated David Andahl for a seat in a district near Bismarck, would get to fill the vacancy if Mr. Andahl is elected.
“Our understanding right now is that all the votes cast for him will be counted,” Mr. Jaeger said in an interview on Wednesday.
Mr. Andahl’s death was confirmed by his mother in The Bismarck Tribune. She told the newspaper that her son got sick last week and had been hospitalized.
Mr. Andahl, 55, a cattle rancher and racecar driver, did not know how he contracted the virus, his mother said.
Mr. Jaeger said that while vacancies have been created when legislators died in office, he could not recall a candidate dying so close to an election in his 27 years as North Dakota’s secretary of state.
“From what I gather, we really haven’t had a situation like this before,” he said.
In the Republican primary in June, Mr. Andahl edged out Jeff Delzer, a longtime incumbent, for a spot on the November ballot. In the general election, four candidates — two Democrats and two Republicans — are competing for two seats, which will go to the top two finishers.
North Dakota had the highest death rate and the highest rate of new cases in the country over the past week.