When Alaskans vote in Tuesday’s statewide primary, they’ll have three choices to pick from on the Democratic Party’s primary race for Congress.
One of those three names, many voters won’t recognize — not because the candidate lacks name recognition, but rather due to the fact that she doesn't live in the state itself.
Carol Hafner wants to make history by becoming Alaska’s first female Congresswoman. But the candidate, who hasn't even ever visited the state, has made headlines because her campaign filing documents list her home address in New Jersey.
Her son did the same thing earlier this year. While living in New Jersey, he ran for office in Oregon — where he failed to win the primary election to move onto the general election.
Is this even legal? You bet. In fact, the U.S. Constitution only places a few rules on who can run for Congress.
First, you must be 25 years of age when you’re elected; you must also have been a legal resident of the U.S. for at least seven years; and finally, you have to reside in the state you’re running for office in — but that requirement only applies after the election has been held.
Hafner is not the first person who has ever run for Congress from outside of the state she currently resides in, and unless a Constitutional amendment is written that changes the rules, she probably won’t be the last. Still, Democratic officials in the state maintain she probably won’t win Tuesday’s race.
“You may have a right to run, doesn't mean you're going to be well-received, or it's going to be an easy campaign for you,” State Democratic Party Executive Director Jay Parmley said. “If you're not from somewhere, that's a pretty tall order.”
Hafner is not doing anything wrong, but it’s probably not something her would-be constituents are happy with. A candidate for office should understand the concerns and grievances voters have, and an individual who doesn’t even live in the state would have a hard time being sympathetic to citizens’ needs.
Although a law change would be extreme, individuals running for offices across the country in states where they don’t reside should reconsider their choices. If they have no ties to the state in which they’re running, they likely have very little business running for office therein.