AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
One of the rules for running for Congress is that you generally have to be a resident of the district you’re running in. After all, how are you supposed to represent people if you don’t know them?
During her campaign, now former-Rep. Karen Handel kept arguing that her opponent, anti-gun activist Lucy McBath, wasn’t a resident of the district and was thus ineligible to run for her seat. This was generally dismissed by the media and by McBath’s campaign as nothing more than a desperate bid to hold office.
However, it looks like Handel was right.
The Georgia residency of freshman Democratic congresswoman Lucy McBath is again in question after tax documents were revealed showing Cobb County does not recognize her family’s local home as a permanent residence and has revoked the homestead exemptions that were granted.
McBath was a first-time candidate for Georgia’s sixth district and was criticized by her Republican opponent Karen Handel for living in Tennessee when she decided she would run. McBath voted in Tennessee during the 2016 election cycle. Handel questioned how her husband, a permanent Tennessee resident, was claiming a homestead exemption in Cobb County when he lived in a different state.
“Now y’all, I’m just a former county commission chairman,” Handel said. “But I thought taking a homestead exemption here while claiming permanent residency there was a pretty big no-no.”
McBath called the critique “baseless” during the campaign, but it now seems Cobb County has sided with Handel.
Cobb County allows residents to lower their property tax liability through a homestead exemption to residents claiming a permanent residence in the county.
McBath’s husband has taken the homestead exemption since 2000, but has now been ordered to pay back-taxes for the last three years, according to documents obtained by AllOnGeorgia.com.
Unsurprisingly, McBath disagrees with the Cobb County findings. She’s claiming that she formally returned her residency to Georgia well before her campaign. She cites her voting record in public elections as evidence.
Again, Cobb County disagrees.
However, this wouldn’t be the first time anti-gun Democrats tried to run a candidate from outside the district. Handel took office after defeating Jon Ossoff, a Democrat who lived outside the Georgia Sixth.
In other words, it’s not that far fetched to believe that McBath may have fraudulently registered to vote. While Georgia requires a photo ID for registration and voting purposes, it’s also not exactly tripping over itself to verify everything presented when someone registers to vote.
Without a doubt, this will continue to plague McBath for her entire term and may play a factor in her reelection bid in 2020, especially if more people come to side with Cobb County on the issue.
The big question is whether it will be enough to set aside an avowed anti-gun activist in favor of a potentially more pro-gun candidate? Right now, I’m kind of skeptical. I didn’t expect McBath to have the juice to win in the first place. Now, she has the power of incumbency, plus she’s likely to play the grieving mother bit to deflect from criticism, so I won’t say she’ll lose over something like this.
But a guy can hope, right?