Chapman Bachelor Pad/Weasel Word Update

As promised, I am reporting the response of Tom Kopko, the communications director for Steve Chapman, the feisty young guy who’s taking on entrenched incumbent Harry Parrish for the GOP nomination in the 50th district House of Delegates race. Chapman has accused his political opponents of concocting charges that he lied about his residence when he registered to vote last fall. In a prepared statement, Chapman said he’d paid rent in the 50th (Manassas and vicinity), changed his driver’s licence and car insurance to the new address, and changed his mailing address as well.

Ah, but did he actually live in the 50th? …As in, eat, sleep, change clothes, take showers, etc. in the 50th? I wondered: Was Chapman providing a weasel-word defense?

No, insists, Kopko. “Steve ‘lived in’ the leased Manassas Park house in question. Gil Davis probably said it best, “He stayed there not every night, but quite a few nights,” at our press conference. Can’t say much more due to the case. Skeptics assuming, or even accusing of, a charade should consider that it is obvious he intended to live there because that’s a requirement to hold office. Doesn’t make sense otherwise.”

There you have it. Chapman stayed in his Manassas Park house “quite a few nights”. Does that meet the standard of legal residence? Chapman is not the only candidate for office to change residences in order to run in a different district. As other bloggers have pointed out, if elected, he wouldn’t be the only politician to maintain a part-time residence in the district he served. Why is he being singled out for prosecution? Is this just another example of the Political Establishment protecting its own?

The advantages of incumbency are so powerful, there’s precious little competition in Virginia’s jerrymandered House and Senate districts as it is. Parrish was a prime mover behind the 2004 tax hikes. Chapman wants to hold him accountable. The charges against Chapman should be resolved as speedily as possible so the election can focus on the issues.

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  1. It’s easy to say “Well…Harry Parrish has been there forever. And many people in powerful interest groups oppose him. Why can’t we cut this poor dumb kid some slack. After all, incumbents always win. We can bend the rules for this kid.”

    This raises a huge issue: should highly funded political chess pieces (see: empty suit) be allowed to move into districts and run for office several minutes later? I don’t think they should. I think we should require at least a year in a district before you run.

    So some of these cozy incumbents that you mention have been living outside of the district for years and getting away with it. Well then prosecute them too! If they aren’t willing to live amongst their constituents, at least for 6 months out of the year, then they shouldn’t be allowed to represent them.

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