McIntosh Residency Issue Draws Fire From Different Directions
Ex-congressman maintains voters he's talked to "know I live here"
David McIntosh (WIBC.com file photo: Ray Steele)
The ghost of Charlie White is hovering over two of this year's Republican primaries in Indiana.
Longtime Indiana Senator Richard Lugar had to re-register to vote at his Decatur Township farm to put an end to challenges to his use of an address he sold soon after he was first elected. Now two candidates for the open Fifth District congressional seat are challenging the residency of a third -- but on differing grounds.
Former Marion County Coroner John McGoff was the first to question the residency of former Congressman David McIntosh, pointing out he lived in Virginia for several years before renting a home in Anderson for his congressional bid. McGoff argues it's another piece in a portrait of McIntosh as a Washington insider who doesn't really call Indiana home.
McIntosh himself acknowledges the question goes to what kind of representative someone would be. "People want to know, 'Is your heart here in Indiana or is it in Washington?' McIntosh says. "We've shown that my heart's always been here in Indiana."
McIntosh says the voters he's talked to have assured him his Hoosier credentials are solid -- he says voters want to know where he stands on issues.
Unlike Lugar or former Secretary of State Charlie White, no one has suggested McIntosh doesn't qualify for the ballot. But a third Republican candidate, former federal prosecutor Susan Brooks, argues the real issue is whether McIntosh could face criminal charges. Brooks stops short of a flat declaration that he should. But she says the Virginia driver's license McIntosh held suggests a conflict with the absentee ballots he cast in Madison County in the last two elections, and raises the possibility of a perjury charge.
Virginia law requires drivers to get a Virginia driver's license if they live in the state for more than six months. McIntosh says he always intended to return to Indiana, the same "state of mind" standard recognized for Evan Bayh's tenure in Washington, both before and after his Senate service. Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings has already said McIntosh's votes were legal. Brooks contends Cummings' legal analysis is flawed because it focused on residency requirements to run for office, not to vote.
White lost the secretary of state's post and was sentenced to house arrest for registering to vote from his ex-wife's home. Both Brooks and McIntosh say White's case is a separate issue. But McGoff says the White saga has brought more attention to residency requirements.
Both McGoff and Brooks argue the fact McIntosh had to seek a legal opinion to affirm his Indiana residency is itself evidence his interests lie elsewhere.
Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold, who's also competing in the G-O-P primary, hasn't raised the issue directly. But his radio ads pointedly declare Seybold lives in Indiana and would continue to do so if elected.
McIntosh lived in Delaware County when he served in Congress from 1995-2001. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2000.