Skip to comments.Kentucky Senate Seats Disputed Candidate [ didn't live in district required time]
Posted on 01/07/2005 1:09:33 PM PST by Mike Fieschko
The Republican candidate in a disputed election was sworn in Friday as the newest member of the Kentucky Senate, even though a judge ruled she did not meet the state's residency requirements. One GOP senator threatened to resign in protest.
Dana Seum Stephenson lived in Indiana from 1997 to 2000, but the Kentucky Constitution requires that senators live in the state for at least six years before taking office. Also, Stephenson is 23, and the constitution says senators be at least 30.
Brushing aside such concerns, the Republican-dominated Senate swore in Stephenson and defeated along party lines a committee's recommendation that Democrat Virginia Woodward be declared the winner of the Louisville district.
Senate President David Williams said he was confident the Senate had the power to determine its own membership.
"No court in the land could overturn that," he said.
On Election Day, Stephenson received 22,772 votes to Woodward's 21,750 votes, according to unofficial returns. At a judge's urging, the State Board of Elections certified Woodward the winner, and she took the oath of office on Jan. 1. But Stephenson asked the Senate to decide the race.
Democrats protested the decision to seat Stephenson. Senate floor leader Ed Worley called it "the greatest single act of pure, raw, ugly politics as I have ever seen take place in our Capitol."
Woodward had challenged Stephenson's residency on the eve of the November election, but the case was not heard in court until after the votes were cast.
Republican Sen. Bob Leeper, a member of the committee that recommended Woodward be declared the winner, proposed a special election to fill the seat. When Williams refused the request, Leeper said in a breaking voice that he had "tolerated a great deal up here" and threatened to resign. Leeper then left the Senate floor.
Stephenson's father is also a Republican member of the Senate.
I will miss Senator Leeper. He was truly one of the more honorable gentlemen of the General Assembly. From what I could tell, his heart was always in the right place and he tried to do what was best for Kentucky, regardless of what party was trying to make hay out of the issue.
What am I missing here? Usually the GOP is the party with respect for established rules and law. If the Kentucky Constitution really has those provisions, how can they in good conscience seat this guy?
--- I hope there is a state supreme court that will uphold the state Constitution---in Nevada we had one that wouldn't--
as a Republican I hate it when our party of law and order seems to think that we don't have to follow the rules. Sometimes we can be too pompous beyond belief
How was she allowed on the ballot in the first place?
Watch them. Section 32, Kentucky Constitution:
"No person shall be a Representative who, at the time of his election, is not a citizen of Kentucky, has not attained the age of twenty-four years, and who has not resided in this State two years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof in the county, town or city for which he may be chosen. No person shall be a Senator who, at the time of his election, is not a citizen of Kentucky, has not attained the age of thirty years, and has not resided in this State six years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof in the district for which he may be chosen."
This is just plain stupid. We look in wonder at the crass illegality of Democrat actions in places like King County, Washington and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and then the Kentucky Republicans pull this stunt and show themselves to be no better.
Can somebody in KY explain why this is a good thing?
This is absolutely ridiculous. This person shouldn't have been allowed to run in the first place.
WAIT A MINUTE!!!! I just read part of this article again and it is COMPLETELY wrong!!!! Dana Seum Stephenson is not underage. She's in her early 30's. 30 is what is required. That has NEVER been an issue in this debacle. The only issue is her residency!!!!
I agree. Why do they feel above the law?
We've always prided ourselves as the party of rules and laws.
This definitely gives the Kentucky GOP a black eye at a point when they're stilling growing into majority status.
How the hell did this person get on the ballot anyway?!
We have a SCOTUS that I'm not too sure about, either.
Here's the difference between us and the 'Rats. When one of our own pulls a stunt like this, we condemn it and often run the perp or perps right out of office and the party. For example, we ran Nixon out in 1974 -- had the Republicans in the Senate taken the 'Rats attitude w/ Bubba, Nixon would have served out his term. The 'Rats, on the other hand, think stunts like Lautencadaver substituting for the Torch is just ducky.
I am afraid the Republicans in Kentucky will pay for this crap. It's outrageous. Anyone calling themselves a Republican who openly disdains the Law is a true RINO IMHO.
AP: OOPS! Did we make a mistake? Duly noted. We'll print a retraction on our web site in the restricted area.
Well, the only issue in this whole matter, despite what the article says, is the issue of residency. And, it actually is a tricky issue.
Dana lived in Kentucky before moving across the Ohio River to Indiana for school. Despite living in Indiana and voting there, she kept her house in Kentucky and spent quite a bit of time there as well. Her argument has been one of dual residency.
Personally, I don't believe she was eligible. But I don't believe the Democrat should win either, because she didn't receive the majority of votes. I believe the most fair thing to do was what Senator Leeper suggested, and have a special election. Case law is ambiguous, but if it leans one way, it would probably lean towards Dana.
It really isn't as bad as this article makes it sound.
You're right. Nor is it incumbent upon them to do so in Kentucky. The burden is for someone else to question the eligibility in court.
maybe you're right but how do you find that in the article?
Like most political entities, they do this when it's to their advantage. Similar to GOP once criticizing excessive government spending.
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