NRSC Spokesman: Ed Markey Might Be Ineligible For Office

Brad Dayspring in 140 characters or less.

In a series of Twitter exchanges with me this afternoon, the communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) posited that Congressman Ed Markey might be ineligible to be the US Senator from Massachusetts because of questions about his residency.

The exchange began after Brad Dayspring issued a press release claiming that Markey lied in last night’s debate when he said that he listed his Malden, Mass., address on his IRS tax form:

Markey claimed that he indeed filed taxes in Massachusetts, even though he most certainly stayed over 183 days in his Maryland home – a number that signifies residency under Maryland Law.

On Twitter, Dayspring called it “a HUGE lie with real ramifications.” I responded that it didn’t seem like that big a deal for voters, which led to this exchange:

Bernstein: I don’t know if Markey did his taxes correctly or not. Legit Q. If not, he should pay what he owes. So?

Dayspring: That would mean a) he lied – an issue b) he’s not a resident of Massachusetts, which could disqualify his campaign.

Bernstein: Oh tell me more!

Dayspring: First, you should find out the truth from Mr. Markey. Then we can see what the next step is.

Bernstein: No, hold on — are you suggesting that if Markey can’t prove 185 days in MA last year he should be DQd from ballot?

Dayspring: …You have to have residency in the state to run for Senate.

Bernstein: You’re arguing that IRS filing status determines that?

Dayspring: No sir. I’m arguing that in light of his statement, there are questions to be answered. Those answers could determine that.

Bernstein: You know, just last year Sen. Lugar’s eligibility was upheld, even though he didn’t even have a home at all in IN.

Dayspring: I’m not sure what that has to do with Markey lying during the debate and refusing to release unredacted tax forms.

Bernstein: When the NRSC comm dir says the Dem nominee might be ineligible for office, that’s a notable claim.

Dayspring: It would all depend on his answers. “MIGHT” could apply to any situation with unknown facts.

Bernstein: So you’re still saying that, depending on his days in state & IRS status, Markey MIGHT be ineligible for US Senate?

Dayspring: Its funny how you keep trying to get me to say things OTHER than what I’m saying…

A US Senator must be an inhabitant of the state he represents at the time of his election—a vague requirement that, as far as I know, has never been used to successfully disqualify someone for spending too much of his time in the DC area.

Brian McNiff, a spokesperson for the Secretary of the Commonwealth, was highly skeptical any such challenge would have merit. “Malden is where he’s registered,” he said. “That’s where he votes. He’s voted there at least since he was in the state legislature.”

Obviously, Dayspring is simply trying to say outrageous things to drive more conversation about Markey’s long-time Maryland co-residency. Republicans have been attacking Markey on that point for at least six months now; apparently they believe this is the week voters finally decide to care about it.

Personally, I think they’re more likely to care about the committee representing Republican Senators saying outrageous things.

Or, perhaps the NRSC really does think that anyone who spends more than 183 days outside his or her home state the year before an election is Constitutionally ineligible to hold office. Any guesses how many Republican Senators would need to step down?