Death Won't Prevent Mink's Name From Appearing On Ballot

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:29 PM EDT

( - Rep. Patsy Mink, a Hawaii Democrat who died over the weekend, will remain on the November election ballot because her death came two days after the filing deadline. Mink died Saturday at age 74 after contracting viral pneumonia.

Hawaii election officials said her name would remain on the November ballot along with Republican Bob McDermott and candidates from the Libertarian and Natural Law parties to represent Hawaii's Second District. A Mink victory would prompt a special election sometime next year.

Mink served in the House for a total of 24 years, at two different times. She was heavily favored to win re-election this year.

She had a heavily liberal voting record, prompting some conservative critics to give her the nickname of "Patsy Pink."

According to political historians, American voters have elected several House members just weeks after they died. Clem Miller, a California Democrat, was elected in 1962 after his death, and Nick Begich, an Alaska Democrat, was elected posthumously in 1972.

In the Senate, former Missouri Democratic Governor Mel Carnahan was elected in Nov. 2000, just weeks after he died in a plane crash. His wife, Jean, was appointed to that seat and faces opposition from Republican Jim Talent this year.

Rep. Neil Abercromie (D-Hawaii) said Sunday plans were being made for a public service on Friday in Honolulu. He also said House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was arranging air transportation to bring several members of Congress to Hawaii to remember their Democratic colleague.

But Hastert's spokesman John Feehery told Monday that a congressional delegation was being lined up but could not say whether the House Speaker himself would be traveling to America's 50th state.

Mink, a liberal Democrat, was an early opponent of America's involvement in Vietnam. She once traveled on her own to Paris to participate in the Vietnam War peace talks.

She opposed the death penalty and pushed for more government funding of education, housing and health care.

She believed one of her most significant House accomplishments was the passage of Title IX of the Education Act, which she helped author in 1972. The law bans gender discrimination in schools that receive federal funding.

She was first elected to the House in 1964, gave up the seat to run unsuccessfully for the Senate in 1976, and then, after losing races for governor in 1986 and mayor of Honolulu in 1988, won the House seat again in 1990 after Daniel Akaka was appointed to the Senate.

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), Chairman of the House Education Committee, said Sunday that Mink was "a vibrant, passionate and effective voice for the principles she believed in. Her passing is a significant loss for our committee, the people of Hawaii, and the people of the United States."

Mink was the ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee.

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