Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar has been preparing for an intra-party challenge since he was first elected, but recently, questions have popped up about his residency and commitment to Indiana.Richard Lugar and his wife live full-time in a house in Alexandria, Virgina, a suburb of Washington D.C. The focus is on whether by living in a hotel when he comes back to Indiana, Sen. Richard Lugar would still qualify as a resident of Indiana. As the challenge to then Secretary of State candidate Evan Bayh shows, when you or your family is in the business of national politics, courts will afford you a lot of leeway in terms of maintaining residency in the state you came from.
Asked if Lugar lived in a hotel when he returned to Indiana, Lugar senior adviser Mark Helmke said, "That's correct."
Lugar owns a farm in the Hoosier State that he's been tending for decades. His siblings own parts of the farm, but he still works on it once a month with his son, even though he doesn't live there.
As for the living conditions on the farm, Helmke joked, "The place is pretty rustic."
Asked how Lugar's team would respond if challenged about his residency, Helmke shot back, "We'll be happy to talk about the farm."
"It's not an issue. They can try to make it an issue. We'll be happy to talk about the farm and what it means to him," Helmke said.
Peole though are missing a much bigger issue, i.e. the Charlie White problem. Remember White was determined to be eligible to run for Secretary of State because he was a resident of Indiana. The problem though was that he voted in a precinct in which he was not a resident, which is a felony under Indiana law, IC 3-14-2-11 in particular:
Except as provided by IC 3-10-10, IC 3-10-11, or IC 3-10-12, a person who knowingly votes or offers to vote in a precinct except the one in which the person is registered and resides commits a Class D felony.Lugar can claim to be a resident of Indiana by staying in a hotel in Indiana when he returns to the state. That would make him eligible to serve as a U.S. Senator from Indiana. The problem though is when he votes as all elected officials do without fail. If Lugar is voting in Indiana using his farm as his address, when it is undisputed that he is not living there, he has committed a Class D felony under IC 3-14-2-11.