Voters Question Where Congressional Candidates Live

By Department of the Interior (National Atlas of the United States) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s one of the hot topics this election year. Candidates running for office in districts they don’t live in. Jason Barry reports on the issue and interviews Catherine Alonzo for her insight.

U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar represents Arizona’s 4th congressional district, which stretches from Payson to Prescott and Lake Havasu City to Yuma.

But his family home is in District 1, that runs from Flagstaff to Page and Show Low to Eloy.

Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin lives in District 4, but he’s running for the congressional seat in District 1.

Legally, these politicians are doing nothing wrong.

However, political consultant Catherine Alonzo, with Javelina Campaign Consulting, told CBS 5 that it may send the wrong message to voters. “When you run for office it is a choice, so to choose to run for office in a district that you don’t live in shows, maybe that you want to run in an area where it is easier to get elected,” said Alonzo. “Then it’s not about representation, it’s about running because you want that job or it’s an easier path.”

Congressman Gosar is reportedly renting an apartment in Prescott, voters have questioned how much time he actually spends there.

CBS5 reached out to Gosar’s office by phone and e-mail Thursday, but did not hear back.

Tobin stopped by CBS 5 studios to explain.

He said that he has lived in District 1 for years, but redistricting in 2012 moved his house about 10 miles outside the boundary.

Tobin promised, if he’s elected, that he will move into District 1 immediately.

“I think the voters have every right to want to know where you live, and I think it would be a bigger problem if I lived in urban Phoenix and represented Williams.”

“No one has represented rural Arizona like I have, and my intention is to move into the district when I am elected.”

Tobin also said that if he moved now he would have to give up his position as Arizona speaker of the House.

Something he did not want to do, because he said there is still more work to do.

Reprinted from CBS 5. By Jason Barry, general assignment reporter for CBS 5 News. Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. Read the original story here.

Javi Javelina

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