BOSTON (WWLP) - The state Constitution requires that a Senate candidate be an “inhabitant” of Massachusetts five years before the election. Democratic candidate for State Senate Eric Lesser lived in Washington D.C. from 2009 to 2011 before moving back to Longmeadow.
Lesser lived in Washington D.C. working as a White House aide. He had a Massachusetts driver’s license and voted via absentee ballot, but owned no home in Massachusetts. Lesser insists it was a temporary job and that he always intended to move back to Massachusetts.
“People in politics are spending more time trying to score points against each other than honestly solving problems. I think you saw today that this complaint was politically motivated from the start,” said Lesser.
22News asked his opponent, Springfield City Councilor Tim Allen, whether filing the complaint was an attempt to get a leg-up in his campaign.
“Well, I just refer them to the Constitution. If you read the Constitution, plain and simple, it says you need to live in the state of Massachusetts for the five years prior to the election,” said Councilor Allen.
Republican Mitt Romney faced a similar residency challenge in 2002. The commission allowed Romney to run for Governor of Massachusetts. Allen and Lesser are among the five Democrats vying for the First Hampden and Hampshire District Senate seat being vacated by Gale Candaras, who decided not to run for re-election.
The State Ballot Law Commission has until next Friday to determine whether Eric Lesser is eligible to run for State Senate.