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Title: Indiana's 1988 Gubernatorial Residency Challenge
Authors: Barrows, Robert G. (Robert Graham), 1946-;Hogsett, Joseph Hadden
Keywords: Bayh Residency Challenge;Indiana. Governor -- Residency requirements;Bayh, Evan;Indiana. Governor (1989-1997 : Bayh)
Issue Date: 2007
Description: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Durational residency requirements as a qualification for holding statewide elected office appear in most state constitutions. These requirements are said to promote legitimate state interests, such as giving voters an extended period of time to get to know the individuals who are interested in holding statewide public office. Indiana is no different. In Article 5, Section 7 of its 1851 constitution, Indiana requires governors to have been “a resident of” the state for five years preceding election. Because no governor’s satisfaction of this requirement had ever been questioned, the constitutional language had never been interpreted – until 1988. In November, 1987, Evan Bayh announced his intention to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor in the 1988 election. However, for approximately thirteen months during the required five year period, Bayh worked in Washington, D.C. As a result, a question arose whether Bayh was “a resident of” Indiana while he lived and worked in Washington. His eligibility to serve as governor, if elected, was formally challenged by leaders of the Indiana Republican Party. Bayh argued that he had been “a resident of” Indiana his entire life even though he had temporarily lived elsewhere. Bayh argued that the constitution does not require physical presence in order to be a resident of the state. Rather, residency was akin to domicile, a legal concept meaning that place which, once established, an individual considers to be his/her permanent home. One’s domicile cannot be terminated absent evidence of a clear intention to do so. Those challenging Bayh maintained that continued physical presence for the entire five years was, in fact, constitutionally required. In the alternative, his opponents argued that the actions taken by Bayh during his time in Washington were sufficient to establish his intent to terminate his residency in Indiana and re-establish it there. For almost eight months, Bayh’s eligibility to serve was a focal point of public attention in the 1988 governor’s race. While Bayh and his opponents pursued answers in several legal forums, they also were competing for advantage in the most important forum of all – the court of public opinion. Finally, on April 28, 1988, the Indiana Supreme Court rendered a decision declaring Bayh eligible to serve, if elected. This thesis considers not only what happened, but why. Were those challenging Bayh’s residency motivated by constitutionalism, partisan advantage or both? What were the political implications of the challenge? What was the significance of the extensive “forum-shopping” in which both sides engaged. In the end, did the attempt to disqualify Bayh actually strengthen his candidacy and help propel him to victory in November, 1988?
Appears in Collections:Theses, Dissertations, and Doctoral Papers

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