Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lugar Residency Problem Will Be Donnelly's Number One Issue

Forget what Ann "Tokyo Rose" DeLaney says on "Indiana Week In Review" about Lugar's residency being a non issue, the Democratic Party and its nominee, U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, plan to make the fact that he hasn't lived in Indiana in 35 years the number one issue in this campaign. After all, what better isssue could you have to run against someone who was first elected to the Senate when Paul Simon's "Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover" was topping the pop charts and "All In The Family" was the most watched TV show? The Star's Mary Beth Schneider found Donnelly campaigning at the Workingman's Friend bar on Indianapolis' west side as Lugar was at a downtown hotel at which he stays during his visits to the state defending his residency before a battery of reporters.

U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly sat at a table at the Workingman's Friend tavern in Indianapolis on Monday, chatting with voters as part of a statewide tour launching his campaign for the Senate.
He talked about his commitment to creating jobs, helping veterans and protecting Social Security. And he made sure they knew that he thinks "the answers are not out in Washington, they're here at home."
"That," Donnelly said, "is why I try to come home almost every weekend."
Stressing that his home is in South Bend, not in Washington, might not seem like much of a campaign theme.
But this might not be an ordinary campaign. Donnelly, a Democrat, will run against the winner of the Republican primary, a race in which Sen. Richard Lugar is being pounded by state Treasurer Richard Mourdock over questions of residency . . .  
But as he travels the state, Donnelly said, voters do bring up the issue of Lugar's address.
"They don't understand it," he said. "This is not to be disrespectful to the senator, but they don't understand how he didn't have a residence here for such a long time."

Voters will decide whether that's an important enough question to influence their vote, he said.

"But here's what I know: I come home almost every weekend. My ability to do my job comes from sitting in restaurants in Rochester and going to fish fries in LaPorte and visiting schools in my district and meeting with folks back home. There's a lot more wisdom in Indiana, from Evansville to Steuben County, than there is in Washington, D.C.," Donnelly said.


LamLawIndy said...

Gary, the IEC is going to hear the Kilpatrick challenge on Friday. Assuming that the IEC shoots down the "inhabitant" challenge, can Kilpatrick seek redress in federal court, or do the courts leave a decision on such qualifications to the appropriate legislative body (here, the U.S. Senate)?

Anonymous said...

When the Indiana Election Division mailed Senator and Mrs. Lugar copies of voter fraud complaints filed against them, the Commissioners mailed copies of the documents to Senator Lugar’s taxpayer-paid Indianapolis office located at 10 West Market St., Indianapolis, IN.
The officials apparently know that the Lugars are not inhabitants of Indiana and they did not want to mail them to their Virginia home.

Gary R. Welsh said...

They can appeal the decision if it is denied, but I doubt it will meet with success. Let's wait and see what the basis is for their ruling. If they're playing by the book, they will cite the 5th Circuit DeLay opinion and say it cannot be determined whether Lugar will be an inhabitant for purposes of this election until the November election so the challenge is premature. The Constitution says he must be an inhabitant "when elected." Justice Story wrote in his commentaries on the Constitution the problem with senators moving out of their states after they were elected to the Senate because of the lenient residency standard. Back in those days, the Senators were elected by the respective state legislatures and were typically very prominent people. Essentially, there was nothing you could do once they were seated and deemed eligible for the remainder of their six-year term. Lugar has already been deemed an inhabitant for the current term he holds because nobody challenged it six years ago. If he continues without a residence through election day, I don't see why a legal challenge against him could not be sustained. As I've said before, if the Democrats are still in control of the Senate, they could simply refuse to seat him because he's not an inhabitant. The Senate has the final say on a person's eligibility to serve in that body, not the courts. He's certainly provided all the evidence the Senate needs through the public comments he's made about his residency to establish that he's not an inhabitant of the state.

Ben said...

This is going to be fun. Between two of them Wright and Mourdock have about as much political brain power as a door knob.

Paul K. Ogden said...


Any Election Commission appeal would go through the State court system and only go to the U.S.SCt at the end.

As I've written before, I agree with Gary's comment regarding he only needs to be an inhabitant on Election Day and the Senate determines whether Lugar has met the standard.

Vox Populi said...

I'm a Democrat who won't be voting for Donnelly if Lugar is the Republican nominee. But I will if Mourdick is.

Hoosier in the Heartland said...

Well, leave it to the GOP to hand a game-changing bonus to the Democrats!

If Murdock's goal is to get Lugar out, he's succeeding. If his goal is to be elected in his place, he's already lost.

patriot paul said...

Lugar has just admitted the farmhouse cannot be listed as his residence:
"Lugar also owns a farmhouse where his son lives, but he said he will not take that as his official residence because it wouldn't be accurate.
Lugar said he isn't sure what address is on his Indiana driver's license but presumes it was from the house he no longer owns.
RTV6's Norman Cox asked Lugar if he gets mail about license renewals from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and responded by saying that he goes to the BMV branch directly to conduct renewals.
"When I've renewed my driver's licenses, I've come here to a proper office in Indianapolis and renewed it," he said.
“There’s no house at the farm that you would stay in, so far as a physical residence,” Willkie said"

On top of it all, Lugar says he doesn't know for sure what address is on his own driver's license. If that's the case, how does he know what's in the bills he votes on???? I know he's pushing 80, but senility does have a way of catching up.

LamLawIndy said...

Paul, why would a challenge based on Article 1, section 3 necessarily have to go thru the state court system 1st?

Pete Boggs said...

Dear Benny: The knob to which W&M point is nothing less than the Constitution, which you might have fun reading.