» Subscribe Today!
The Power of Information
Home
The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition
X
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Article
VOL. 46 | NO. 8 | Friday, February 25, 2022

Senate OKs residency requirements for US House candidates

Print | Front Page | Email this story

NASHVILLE (AP) — Just weeks after finalizing Tennessee's new congressional boundaries, GOP lawmakers are now eyeing a possible residency requirement for Republican and Democratic U.S. House hopefuls eager to secure their political party's nomination later this year.

The GOP-controlled Senate on Monday advanced legislation requiring U.S. House and Senate candidates to meet the same criteria imposed on state legislative candidates, who must be Tennessee residents for at least three years and residents of the county they'll represent for at least one year "immediately preceding the election."

The bill passed 31-1, with Republican Sen. Todd Gardenhire casting the lone no vote. It must still pass the GOP-controlled House.

"I think y'all are trying to stop somebody from running," Gardenhire said, without naming a specific candidate.

The bill was passed as state lawmakers watch to see who lines up to win a freshly carved up congressional seat in Middle Tennessee. The district opened up after Gov. Bill Lee approved splitting fast-growing left-leaning Nashville into multiple congressional seats. Republicans hope doing so will give them a greater opportunity to flip a previously held Democratic seat.

Video producer Robby Starbuck has alleged that lawmakers are trying to keep him out of the race. Starbuck announced plans to run for Congress before Nashville was carved into three districts, and has received U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's support. Starbuck moved from California to Tennessee in 2019.

"Some legislators are trying to pass a bill to change the requirements to run for Congress in order to force me out of the race," Starbuck tweeted earlier this month. "You can't make this stuff up. They can't beat me fair and square so they're trying to change the rules in the middle of the game."

It is unclear if the proposal is legal under the U.S. Constitution, which only dictates that a congressional candidate be a citizen for at least seven years, at least 25 years old and an "inhabitant" of the state in which they want to be elected. The U.S. Supreme Court has previously determined that any requirement not explicitly outlined in the Constitution is out of bounds.

Supporters of the bill said those who don't meet the new qualifications can run as independents.

"We are not preventing anyone from running for office in passing this bill," said Republican Sen. Mike Bell.

Within hours of Lee signing off on the newly drawn congressional maps on Feb. 7, former President Donald Trump announced his endorsement of Morgan Ortagus. The former State Department spokesperson hadn't made it official yet at the time of Trump's declaration, but the new Nashville transplant has since filed to run.

Other candidates include businessman Quincy McKnight and retired National Guard Brig. Gen. Kurt Winstead. Several more — including Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and former state House Speaker Beth Harwell — are considering whether to join them.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & RSS:
Sign-Up For Our FREE email edition
Get the news first with our free weekly email
Name
Email  
TNLedger.com Knoxville Editon
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0