Richard Lugar Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 15 2012 3:28 PM

Richard Lugar Doesn't Live Here Anymore

When I followed Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock around at CPAC, it struck me that his campaign was a little different than the usual Tea Party-versus-the-world affair. He wanted to beat Lugar, sure. But he wanted to do so while exposing how little Lugar lived in the state, and how he might, technically, not even be a resident. He lived in Washington. He merely kept an address in Indiana to vote from, and qualify for the ballot from.

This wasn't just populism. This was the sort of thing candidates do to disqualify each other. And voila:

The Election Board has voted 2-1 along party lines to find Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican, and his wife ineligible to vote in their former home precinct. The two Democrats found that the Lugars abandoned that residence, according to Indiana law, and no longer reside there... according to Election Board attorneys, there would be an easy fix — the Lugars could submit new voter registration forms that list a physical address in any Indiana county with which they currently have a connection.
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The deed was done by a Democratic-run board, but the Mourdock campaign'll take it. ""The fact that Senator Lugar hired a team of high-priced lawyers to fight for his right to use a legal technicality so that he doesn't have to live among Hoosiers just proves our point about how out of touch he is," said Mourdock's spokesman, Chris Conner. "Our position on this issue has always been clear: regardless of how he is registered to vote, the U.S. Constitution requires Senator Lugar to be an 'inhabitant' of the state to be elected. Currently, he is not."

Every one of the current GOP insurgent campaigns leads with the Constitution. We obey it; the other guys don't. This is the rare campaign that uses the Constitution to say the election shouldn't even happen.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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