Thursday, December 07, 2006

We'll have to learn more about this specific situation since the state's residency requirements are as abysmal as its onerous ballot access laws.

Democratic lawmaker believes GOP may challenge his House seat
By Alison Hawkes, For the Herald-Standard

HARRISBURG - Bucks County's representative-elect Chris King said he believes a Republican may try to block him from taking office in early January in a move to throw party control of the House or the Speaker's post up in the air.

King, a Democrat, said he's hearing whispers that a Republican could use a procedural move to stop him from being seated on Jan. 2 during swearing-in ceremonies.

The basis for the move is an old complaint that King doesn't meet the residency requirements for public office.

Democrats are in power by a one-seat majority, making King's status a crucial one in votes for a new Speaker that day or party control of the chamber. Republicans are also still attempting to win a Chester County seat through a recount.

"This is desperate measures for desperate times. It's nonsense," King said. "I own a condo in Harrisburg but Bucks County has always been my home."

House Republican leaders are not saying it's them behind the effort to block King.

"I don't know who's heading it but I know it's an issue," said Steve Miskin, spokesman for House Republican Leader Sam Smith. "I don't know if it's coming from leadership quarters."

In a similar vein, Allegheny County Rep. Jake Wheatley, a two-term Democrat, said he has heard his seating also may be challenged for the first time on the grounds of felony charge he pleaded guilty to when he was 17 for stealing a jacket in Michigan.

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