A state panel has rejected claims arguing that Kansas Senator Pat Roberts is not eligible to run for re-election. The claims were filed by Kansans who say Roberts actually lives in Virginia, where he owns a home. Nancy Hanahan, from Overland Park, says she personally likes Roberts, but he’s spent too much time outside of Kansas during his years in the House and Senate.
But an attorney for Roberts, Michael Kuckelman, says Roberts meets requirements under the U.S. Constitution to run for office. He says Roberts pays taxes and votes in Kansas. Kuckelman says Roberts rents a room in Kansas and has a home in Virginia because he needs to spend so much time in the Washington D.C. area. The panel will issue a written explanation of its ruling in the coming week, but members say there isn’t a sufficient legal basis to show that Roberts is not eligible to run. The ruling means Roberts will face off against challenger Milton Wolf in the August Republican primary election.
A state panel has rejected an effort to block Kansas Senator Pat Roberts from running for re-election. The State Objections Board ruled 3-0 against a group of Kansans arguing that Roberts doesn't really live in the state. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, that sets the stage for Roberts to face challenger Milton Wolf in the August Republican primary.
Chuck Henderson, a Milton Wolf supporter from Manhattan filed one of the objections. He believes Roberts shouldn’t be eligible to run again because he actually lives in a home in Virginia.
“Regardless or your choice of terms, residency, inhabitance, Senator Roberts has been perpetrating a sham on the citizens of Kansas who have trusted him all these years,” says Henderson.
An attorney representing Roberts, Michael Kuckelman, says Roberts meets the requirements to run for Senate spelled out in the U.S. Constitution and the state can’t add any more stipulations. Kuckelman says Roberts rents a room in Dodge City and owns the home in Virginia to be closer to the U.S. Senate.
“I would expect any senator from Kansas to have a place to live and to stay and a residence in that area. It’s not unusual, there are many Kansans, probably some in this room, that have more than one residence,” says Kuckelman.
Kuckelman says Roberts pays taxes and votes in Kansas.
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All three members of the Objections Board -the secretary of state, attorney general and lieutenant governor- had previously endorsed Roberts. All three didn't appear at the hearing and instead sent representatives on their behalf.