From The Kansas City Star
IT’S IN possible violation of voter registration law that Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is registered to vote at his sister’s home in Ozark, Missouri, while actually living full time in his $1.3 million house in northern Virginia. He’s building a big new house that’s in Ozark, too, but is not yet living there, though he’s really supposed to have a legal residence in Missouri.
This is a lapse that won’t make the history books. But it is one that’s gotten other officeholders in serious political trouble over the years.
In 2012, Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar lost his seat in large part over not having a legal residence in the state he represented. Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, who like Hawley spends most of his time in northern Virginia, found that he had all kinds of explaining to do when during his 2014 reelection campaign, it came out that he was using a friend’s address as his. His joke that he had “full access to the recliner” at his buddy’s didn’t go over that well.
Defeated, soon-to-be-former Kansas Republican Rep. Steve Watkins is facing felony charges for using the address of a Topeka UPS store on his voter registration, and as a result voting in the wrong district in a 2019 municipal election.
In 2018, Hawley went after his opponent, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill for not spending enough time in Missouri, where she did then and still does have a home: “She flies over us in her private plane … to her luxury condo in D.C.”
Now that Hawley is being questioned about his lack of a real Missouri address, naturally, this whole line of questioning is suddenly outrageous and out of line.
And what’s a lot more telling than where Hawley lays his head versus where he’s registered is how he and his office responded to questions from The Star.
In a statement, Hawley spokeswoman Kelli Ford said, “Josh and Erin sold their home in Springfield earlier this year to build a new one in Ozark, Missouri, and are staying down the street with family in Ozark while it’s finished. We realize Ozark may not be ritzy, but it suits Josh and Erin just fine. With ridiculous stories like this one, it’s no surprise the KC Star is losing money and had to move its printing operations out of state.”
“Enjoy Iowa!” tweeted Hawley, because production jobs are moving to Des Moines.
He and his spokeswoman actually seem to be relishing the impending loss of 68 full-time and 56 part-time Missouri jobs. But the men and women who run the presses at The Star have worked hard and well for a long time, and however affronted the senator is by being asked about his voter registration, their displacement is not a joke.
The ritziness of Ozark is not at issue, either, and has nothing to do with whether or not Hawley is following the law.
When McCaskill, who always had a house in Missouri, also kept a place in D.C. while serving there, Hawley made that out to be evidence that she had become an out of touch elitist, of course.
But now that he is being dinged for living in his D.C.-area home full time, that’s somehow an uppity attack on Everyman Josh Hawley — son of a banker and graduate of Stanford and Yale — for living in humble Ozark. Where he’s not actually living.