Expanding the First Congressional District, to Include the South Kingstown Town Council?
The Rhode Island Secretary of State’s website lists 3 candidates who have qualified for the ballot for the U.S. House of Representatives seat for Rhode Island’s First Congressional District. The candidates are Patrick Kennedy of Portsmouth, Jon Scott of Providence and Kenneth Capalbo of South Kingstown.
You read that right. Somehow, for the purposes of this Congressional election, South Kingstown has moved to the First Congressional District. The Federal Election Commission’s website, in the link to the one filing that Mr. Capalbo made during his 2006 candidacy for the same office, lists “South King” as his community of residence (type the name “Capalbo” in here, to see for yourself), so this appears to be more than a typo.
There’s more. Campaign finance paperwork filed with the state Board of Elections on July 8 shows that Mr. Capalbo indicated “Town Council” as the office he is seeking. An entry for his South Kingstown Town Council candidacy appears on Secretary of State’s website, though no signatures are indicated. The entry for his Congressional candidacy, on the other hand, indicates over 600 signatures.
So how does a guy who says he’s running for Town Council in South Kingstown end up collecting over 600 signatures for Representative in the First Congressional District?
Commenter “Brassband” reminds me that there is no Constitutional requirement that a Congressional candidate live in the district he or she seeks to represent…
A candidate, or Member, of the U.S. House of Representatives must live in the state from which he or she serves, but need not live within the district that he or she represents. Here are the qualifications for the House, from Art. I, sec. 2 of the U.S. Constitution:Now that Brassband has jogged my memory, I have a vague recollection of this issue being discussed in the 1990s when term-limits for Congress were seriously under consideration, and that there is a definitive consensus in the courts that no restrictions, beyond those specified in the Constitution, can be placed on the qualifications for Federal office.
No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.