At least Kagen stood by his District. You lost my Vote for re-election!
SHERWOOD — U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble confirmed reports Tuesday that he recently moved out of the 8th Congressional District and returned to his family’s three-bedroom home on Lake Winnebago in Sherwood, a house he left more than a year ago to challenge incumbent Democrat Steve Kagen in last fall’s midterm election.
Consequently, Ribble is no longer a voter in the district he represents in Congress. Ribble’s Sherwood home is in the 6th Congressional District, where Republican Tom Petri is the incumbent.
Ribble defended the move by asserting, “Northeast Wisconsin is my home and always will be.”
“I have a long and personal tie to the 8th District and assertions to challenge this are just ridiculous,” the Republican congressman wrote in a statement. “I grew up in Appleton, went to Appleton East High School and coached volleyball at Appleton East High School for over 20 years. My roofing business was located in Kaukauna and my wife’s longtime bookstore was also in Appleton.”
Amid reports he recently moved out of an apartment he had been renting in Lawrence in the 8th District, Ribble confirmed he intends to take his Sherwood residence off the sluggish housing market, where it had been on sale for nearly $600,000 as recently as last week, according to online real estate postings.
“My wife and I initially put our Sherwood house up for sale last year,” Ribble wrote. “With the listing contract coming to an end soon, the house is coming off the market until the housing market turns around. We are not immune to the negative effects of the unsteady housing market and just like many Americans across the country, we have had to change our plans.”
Ribble said he had planned to move to a smaller home in the 8th District that “requires less maintenance” given his frequent travel between Washington, D.C., and the Fox River Valley.
“We wish the home would have sold, but unfortunately the tough housing market prevented this from happening,” Ribble wrote.
Ribble’s spokeswoman did not clarify when the move back to Sherwood occurred or whether Ribble intends to transfer his voter registration.
Though Ribble now lives a few miles south of the district he represents in Congress, he may still be able to cast a vote for his re-election bid next year.
According to new district maps drawn by the Republican-controlled state Legislature and signed by Gov. Scott Walker on Aug. 9, the 8th District will include Ribble’s Sherwood residence and all of Calumet County starting in 2013.
Even if the new boundaries are challenged in federal court and do not take effect in time for the next election — as occurred with redistricting efforts in 1980, 1990 and 2000 — Ribble would still be able to run in the 8th District even though he lives in the 6th District.
“The (U.S.) Constitution sets the requirements for being a member of Congress, including that someone be an inhabitant of the state at the time of election,” said Reid Magney, a spokesman with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. “No other Wisconsin statutes require someone to be a resident of the district.”
In his statement, Ribble wrote, “The Constitution doesn’t care where I sleep at night, and with my schedule that’s about all I’m doing at that house — sleeping.”
Arnold Shober, a political scientist at Appleton’s Lawrence University, predicted Ribble’s move wouldn’t be a major stumbling block in the 2012 campaign cycle, especially if the new redistricting maps take effect on schedule.
“The way (Ribble) would play that is, ‘I’m planning to be in my district, they’ve just drawn the lines around my home,’” Shober said. “It’s a minor issue at this point.”