Commonwealth Journal

News Live

June 5, 2013

Redistricting technicality could see candidates living outside where they file

Quirk in state law affects House race

Somerset —

Pulaski County Clerk Ralph Troxtell says unless redistricting is completed before November 6 there is a possibility candidates for the Kentucky House of Repre-sentatives could end up living outside the district in which they file.
This coming November 6 is the first day candidates in the 2014 election cycle can file for office. Realignment of House and Senate Districts, required by federal law following the 2010 federal census, has not been done. There is no state senatorial election in Pulaski County next year, but all House members must seek new two-year terms.
Here is what could happen: Suppose a candidate for the House of Representatives files shortly after November 6 and the General Assembly waits until its 2014 regular session, beginning in January, to realign legislative districts?  If realignment moves the district boundary and leaves the filed candidate’s residence outside the district, he or she would not be eligible to run in that district. Traditionally, strong candidates, particularly incumbents, like to get their names in the pot early, a strategy to discourage other candidates from getting in the race.
It has happened before. Initial redistricting plans of the House and Senate were declared unconstitutional by the Kentucky Supreme Court. A judge directed existing districts be used in the last election cycle. Several candidates who had filed in invalid areas were left out in the cold.
Brian Wilkerson, communications director for House Speaker Greg Stumbo, said odds are good that Gov. Steve Beshear will call a special session of the General Assembly to complete redistricting before November 6.
Pulaski County currently is split into five House districts. Under a district realignment plan prepared by the House of Representatives, Pulaski County would have only four House districts. Democrat Terry Mill’s 24th District would no longer extend into northern Pulaski County, leaving Pulaski County with four House Districts.

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