Senate candidate’s residency called into question

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Democratic candidate for State Senate is asking the state’s ballot law commission to look into whether a rival candidate has followed the residency requirements to seek the office.

Springfield City Councilor Tim Allen announced Wednesday that he would be filing an objection with the commission, to have them investigate whether fellow Democrat Eric Lesser has been living in Massachusetts for five years immediately prior to the election, which is required by the state Constitution.

Springfield City Councilor Tim Allen told 22News, “He lived in Washington. I don’t know about temporarily. He lived in Washington up to June of 2011, which is clearly within the five year period. It it not about where you vote; it’s about where you dwell.”

Lesser and Allen are two of the several Democratic candidates vying for their party’s nomination in the 1st Hampden and Hampshire Senate District; a seat that is being vacated by Wilbraham Democrat Gale Candaras.

In an Allen campaign news release, which was sent to 22News by the public relations firm Paul Robbins Associates, the candidate noted that Lesser had worked as an aide to President Obama’s political consultant David Axelrod from 2008 to 2011. “He subsequently worked as a staffer for the Council of Economic Advisors in 2011 also apparently as a resident of Washington,” the release stated.

22News spoke with State Senate candidate Eric Lesser and he believes he is more than qualified.

“This is about trying to bully someone off of a ballot and I’m not going to be bullied. I’m not going to fall into the normal politics of he said, she said, and gotcha, and this one that one,” said Lesser.

Allen referred to the residency matter as a “legitimate question” in the primary, and said that he would abide by whatever decision was made by the five-member commission.

Springfield City Councilor Tim Allen’s objection would act somewhat like a court case. He would have to present his findings and the Massachusetts State Ballot Law Commission would have to debate and decide whether Eric Lesser meets the residency requirements.

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