Muchhasbeenmadeaboutthecontroversy over formerRep.TomDeLayandwhetherhe canwithdrawfrom the race for his House seat andwhether the Republicans can replace his name on the ballot (“GOP plans write-in for DeLay seat,” Aug. 14 edition).
Texas law stipulates that nonresidents cannot run, so the Democratic court case has held that because Mr. DeLay still maintains a home in Texas, there is no way to prove he will not return and once again become a valid candidate, so his name cannot be removed from the ballot.
Has anyone thought to reverse this argument? Can someone move into a district just to run there? What if that person still maintains a residence outside the district?
Alan Keyes rented an apartment in Illinois so he could challenge Barack Obama for the Senate, but perhaps the most famous recent example was Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s move to Chappaqua, N.Y., to run for her Senate seat. I remember much being made of her reverse-carpetbagger status and political opportunism, but I do not remember a legal challenge to her residency.
Much also was made of the fact that the Clintons did not own a home, as they had movedfromtheArkansas governor’s mansion to the White House, but this was used mainly as an excuse for why they always vacationed with the smart set on Martha’s Vineyard.
It would be easy to check financial disclosure forms for state tax payments, but I doubt they were made to high-tax New York before the move to Chappaqua.
If someone can definitively establish residency by moving into a district to run for office, why couldn’t someone terminate his eligibility by moving out? Does Mr. DeLay have to make a token run at the safe Democratic seat of Rep. Jim Moran, Virginia Democrat, to establish his new domicile?
The Democrats run a risk if they are constantly seeking to get through the courts what they cannot win at the ballot box. Even some of the people who think Al Gore was denied his rightful recountbytheSupremeCourt will get a bad taste in their mouth from attempts to block ballot substitutions for Mr. DeLay, and Rep. Bob Ney, Ohio Republican, as well. Americans want to see a fair fight, even if it is between unevenly matched teams. Peter Locke Ashburn, Virginia