Daschle Ineligible to Run?

This intriguing item comes from Talon News:

Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) may have forfeited his South Dakota residency last year when he and his wife purchased a $2 million home in an exclusive Washington, DC neighborhood. The Senate minority leader declared the mansion to be his “principal place of residence” when he applied for a property tax credit intended to help DC homeowners cope with sky-rocketing property values in the city.
It would appear that Daschle voluntarily surrendered his residency in South Dakota with his April 2003 declaration. Under state statute, Daschle would no longer be eligible to hold elective office in South Dakota or represent it in Washington.
Under South Dakota law, Daschle’s seat became vacant upon executing the affidavit designating Washington, DC as his domicile. SDCL 3-4-1(5) stipulates that vacancy occurs when an officeholder ceases “to be a resident of the state, district, county, township, or precinct in which the duties of his office are to be exercised or for which he may have been elected.”
Article 1, Section 3, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution states, “No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.”

This is not an area of the law in which I am an expert, and I haven’t tried to do any extensive research, but there are suggestions, at least, that having his primary residence outside of South Dakota may be incompatible with the Constitutional requirement that he be an “inhabitant” of that state.
It would be nice if this issue created problems for Daschle in the closing days of the campaign. If nothing else, the fact that he doesn’t actually reside in South Dakota nicely encapsulates the principal themes of the Thune campaign.
As always, stay tuned to Daschle v. Thune for the latest on this key race.


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