Discuss: Should congressional candidates live in the district they seek to represent?
A fun fact from the Times editorial board Wednesday with candidates vying for the 9th Congressional District seat. Only two of the five filed to represent this newly configured district actually lives in the district. It's legal, but surprising.
One of the resident candidates is the incumbent, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, who finds himself running for his ninth two-year term in a district that is very different from the one he's been representing the last 16 years. Whereas the district slung more south previously, stretching from Olympia to Renton, the new 9th moves north, touching Seattle and Bellevue.
The stark difference is good for Washington, which gained a 10th Congressional seat after the last session. In redrawing lines to add another district, the state redistricting commission also opted to create a district with a majority of constituents who are members of minority groups. That's what the commission did with the 9th district.
Besides Smith, the other resident is John Orlinski of Bellevue, who filed as a Republican. He did not attend Wednesday's interview, nor did Smith who had a conflict.
Still the most startling thing for me is that three other challengers are not 9th District residents.
- Challenger Tom Kramer, a Redmond Democrat, lives in the 1st Congressional District, just a 100 yards out of the 9th District's northern boundary. He says he's in the process of buying a house further south.
- Dave Christie, who says he is a Lyndon LaRouche Democrat, lives in Seattle's Lake City neighborhood.
- And Republican Jim Postma of Steilacoom had previously run in the 9th but now lives in the newly added 10th District. He figures people will know him from his last election. effort. He pledged to move if he won the election.
All of these nonresident candidates had plenty of opinions about federal issues that touch all U.S. citizens, whether foreign policy, Social Security or job creation. But they had varying levels of understanding about the specific federal issues in the 9th. They don't live there!
So here's the question, do you think candidates for political office should live in the district they are hoping to represent?
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
Postman On Politics