Elections board remains split on Husted’s residency

DAYTON — State Sen. Jon Husted called the eight-month inquiry into his residency “a joke.”

But at the Montgomery County Board of Elections, it’s still a tie. Once again on Monday, June 29, the board voted 2-2 along party lines on whether Husted, a Republican, lives in Kettering or suburban Columbus. The issue now goes back to Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.

The board looked only at Husted’s residency for voting purposes. The senator, who is running for Secretary of State, said Kettering is his home even though he often stays with his wife and children at her house in Upper Arlington.

“I’m a resident of Kettering. I have been for 14 years,” Husted said.

The tie vote rested on differing interpretations of Ohio law.

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Gregory Gantt, chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Elections and the Montgomery County Republican Party, said he believes Ohio law makes it permissible for Husted to move out of the area and live with his family in Franklin County as long as he intends to move back after completing his term of public service.

“I think this is a legal question more than a factual question,” Gantt said.

Board member Dennis Lieberman, a Democrat, did a comparison of Husted’s electric and water use prior to his election in 2000 with 2008. He found Husted had used 66 percent less water in 2008 and 77 percent less electricity. “I can only come to the conclusion that he did not have a fixed habitat in Montgomery County,” Lieberman said. “There were four months where there was zero water usage. He didn’t even flush the toilet.”

Republican board member James S. Nathanson said he did not want Montgomery County to put an unnecessary burden on state legislators and how they conduct themselves. “Their work is in Columbus,” he said. He added that Husted does sometimes return to the residence at 148 Sherbrooke Drive in Kettering. “This is not just a vacant building,” he said. “He does at times come back.”

Board members have 14 days to submit position papers for review. Brunner has the final call, although there is no deadline when a decision must be rendered.

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