McGuiness ruled eligible to run for Delaware lieutenant governor

 

DOVER — Amidst questions about lieutenant governor candidate Kathy McGuiness’ eligibility, the Department of Elections has ruled she meets the residency requirement and thus is able to run for office.

The Delaware Constitution mandates the lieutenant governor must be a resident of the state for 12 years, the last six consecutively before the election. Ms. McGuiness, a Rehoboth Beach resident and one of six Democrats currently running for the office, has maintained an address in Delaware for her entire life, but she also had a condominium in Park City, Utah, and had voted there and obtained a Utah driver’s license.

Elections Commissioner Elaine Manlove and a deputy attorney general met with Ms. McGuiness and her lawyer last week, and Ms. McGuiness’ team presented case law, tax forms and other official documents — evidence Ms. Manlove called “overwhelming.”

“The abundance of information she had makes me think we’re doing the right thing,” Ms. Manlove said.

A letter from John Paradee, Ms. McGuiness’ attorney, said she treated the First State as her official domicile and

Kathy McGuiness

Kathy McGuiness

always has paid her taxes and bills in Delaware. She spent time in Utah while her children competed in United States Ski and Snowboard Association programs but remained a permanent resident of Delaware, according to the letter.

Utah records show Ms. McGuiness voted there in a 2011 municipal election and the 2012 general election, although Mr. Paradee’s letter says she does not remember voting in the general election.

While Ms. Manlove said she would “prefer that had not happened,” she believes there is a great deal of evidence supporting Ms. McGuiness’ Delaware residency argument. If she ruled Ms. McGuiness was not eligible and the campaign subsequently took the case to court, Ms. Manlove said, a judge likely would overturn the initial finding.

She noted Ms. McGuiness did not vote in Delaware in 2012.

Ms. McGuiness did receive a Utah driver’s license, but only after she had lost her Delaware one, which she otherwise had no intention of giving up, according to the letter.

Ms. Manlove said she could not recall any prior cases where a political aspirant’s occupancy in the state was in question, although some candidates have claimed residency in different districts than what state records showed.

Ms. McGuiness and her campaign said last week they were unconcerned about allegations she did not meet the qualification. A campaign spokesman declined to comment until the election commissioner’s office issues an official opinion later this week.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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