Friday, February 29, 2008

Meuser still lives in 11th District, not 10th, petitions show

Meuser still lives in 11th District, not 10th, petitions show
Dan Meuser, a Republican candidate for the 10th Congressional District seat, has filed nomination petitions that show he continues to live outside the district.

But in a statement, Meuser, who lives in Shavertown, Jackson Township, Luzerne County, said his fulfillment of plans to move into the district to a home in Harveys Lake is only being held up temporarily by renovations to the new home. Jackson Township is in the 11th Congressional District.

Meuser said he used his Jackson Township address on the petitions to comply with state law.

“After doing a little research, we learned that this address needed to reflect where my family spends the predominance of their time,” Meuser said. “Therefore, as my renovations are taking a little longer than expected at Harveys Lake, we decided to use the old address on the petition to fully comply both with the letter and the spirit of the law.”

Meuser said he hopes to move “in the near future” and would vote in Harveys Lake in the April 22 primary election.

When Meuser and his wife, Shelley, bought the home for $535,000 in September, he said they would move there shortly.

The U.S. Constitution requires congressmen to live within a state, but does not require residency within a district.

Meuser was one of three Republican candidates to file petitions to challenge Democratic Rep. Chris Carney, D-Dimock Township.

The others are Davis C. Haire of Meshoppen Borough in Wyoming County and Chris Hackett of Kingston Township in Luzerne County. No other Democrats filed petitions.

In a statement, Tom Whitehead, Haire’s campaign manager, said the residency issue symbolizes Meuser’s campaign.

“There aren’t too many people in this district who can afford a second house for half a million dollars, especially one purchased for the sole purpose of trying to legitimize a candidacy for Congress,” Whitehead said. “At the end of the day, Davis Haire is the only one who’s actually grown up in this district, the only rural conservative Republican in the race, and the only Republican candidate who can win the general election.”

Mark Harris, a spokesman for Hackett, said Hackett was surprised Meuser hasn’t moved, but declined to comment on the residency issue.

“We’re not going to get into telling the people of the district where Dan Meuser should live,” Harris said in a telephone interview.

In the other local congressional race, Republican Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta and Democratic Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski were the only people to file to run for the 11th District seat Kanjorski has held since 1985. Political activist Kurt Shotko of Scranton has announced plans to run as an independent, but the petition filing deadline for third-party candidates isn’t until Aug. 1.

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