Lax residency requirements may help Kucinich run for Congress in Washington

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
Font Size:

Rep. Dennis Kucinich is rumored to be considering a run for Congress from Washington State. On Monday, Kucinich spokesman Nathan White did not deny that Kucinich is considering the move.

“He fully intends to remain in Congress; he just doesn’t know in what district he will run,” White wrote in an email, linking to an article about a recent visit by the congressman to Bainbridge Island, Washington.

The eight-term Ohio Democrat faces difficult prospects for re-election if Republican-led redistricting dilutes his tenuous base of support in northern Ohio.

If Kucinich sought election in Washington, he would first need to establish residency in the state. According to Brian Zylstra of the Washington Secretary of State’s office, the requirements to run do not preclude a Kucinich candidacy.

“There is no time period component to the residency requirement with respect to being eligible for the office,” Zylstra told The Daily Caller.

“Regarding Kucinich – he could move to Washington anytime prior to candidate filing in May 2012 and on the first day of candidate filing (3rd week of May, 2012) he could register to vote and file a declaration of candidacy,” Zylstra said.

The Washington State Constitution grants citizens who have lived in the state 30 days prior to an election the right to register to vote.

Kucinich was initially rumored to be interested in the new 10th congressional district, which will be created by redistricting, but on Tuesday The Stranger reported that he may choose to run in Rep. Jay Inslee’s 1st congressional district. Inslee is expected to leave his seat to run for Washington governor.

Taking time to deliberate between the two districts in Washington would present no hurdle for Kucinich. Zylstra noted that “candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives need only live in the state (not the Congressional District for which he or she is running), possess the qualifications specified in the U.S. Constitution for U.S. Reps, and be a registered voter.”

Zylstra said that “other states have more strict standards for what constitutes residency,” but that “in Washington, residency standards are driven primarily by case law.”

Washington State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz was reached by TheDC on Tuesday, but denied knowledge of Kucinich’s plans. “I don’t have anything to say,” Pelz said. “It’s just a rumor out here.”