October 14, 2006

Weekend Question 1: How Important Is It to Voters That a Congressional Candidate Live in the District?

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 9:12 am

ANSWER: It’s a dealbreaker if he or she doesn’t and the voters know about it.


Confirming that one of my alltime hot-button issues is not some lonely personal crusade:

1. Do you think a candidate for the United States House of Representatives should or should not be required to live in the district he or she wants to represent?

2. Do you think you would or would not vote for a candidate for the House of Representatives who lived outside the district he or she wanted to represent?


Apply to current electoral circumstances (e.g., Tammy Duckworth, Green Card Charlie Wilson, Ted Strickland’s previous congressional runs) as they fit.

The numbers are so overwhelming they don’t need much commentary, but I will make these three points:

  • Congressional candidates who do not live in the districts they plan to represent can ONLY win if they withhold the fact of their out-of-district residence from the voters. Winning a seat while living out-of-district is thus, in essence, winning the seat under false pretenses. (Of course, the opponent who doesn’t bring the non-residency up shares the blame.)
  • Even though what was involved in her case was a US Senate seat, and even if there hadn’t been legal requirements (which there were), the poll shows why Hillary Clinton had to buy a house with her husband in New York about a year before the 2000 election. Voters simply won’t accept interlopers and carpetbaggers, and Mrs. Clinton had to at least make some kind of effort to show herself to be a New Yorker.
  • Locally, THE ONLY REASON why Bob McEwen came within 5% or so of winning the 2005 and 2006 GOP primaries in the Second Congressional District was because, despite the best efforts of this blog and others (plus the Easter bombshell story in the Cincinnati Enquirer in the 2006), most voters did not know there was a residency problem with Carpetbaggin’ Bob. The above shows that any win he might have achieved would have been based on withholding the truth, and would thus have been dishonestly obtained. There’s a commandment about that, isn’t there?


  1. Mike Oxley hasn’t lived in Findlay formore than a decade.

    Paul Gilmor doesn’t live in his district, he lives in Columbus near his wife’s work.

    If this is an issue, it is a bipartisan issue.

    Comment by save_the_rustbelt — October 14, 2006 @ 9:27 am

  2. #1, absolutely agree — Bob McEwen is a Republican.

    Of course the survey did not address incumbents who move out later and start living somewhere else, which apparently describes Oxley, or incumbents who end up not even having a residence at all anywhere except Washington (which believe describes Portman in his later years in the 2nd District, but I am not absolutely sure of that). Some of this could be understood in the horse-and-buggy days, but no more. I would think voters would have a problem with these things too if known, but they would be tempered by knowledge of the incumbent.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 14, 2006 @ 10:43 am

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