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Gabel challenges Sawyer’s residency in 95th House District

  • Eagle Topeka bureau
  • Published Monday, Sep. 10, 2012, at 9:06 p.m.

— The State Objections Board on Thursday will consider a complaint filed by Kansas for Liberty that contends Tom Sawyer, a Democratic candidate for House District 95 in south Wichita, doesn’t live at the house he owns in the district.

Sawyer said the allegations are politically motivated.

“I’ve lived here 20 years,” Sawyer said. “That’s crazy.”

Craig Gabel, president of Kansans for Liberty, filed a complaint that says the group’s independent investigation has determined Sawyer “is not the true resident nor does he reside” at the home at 1041 S. Elizabeth. Gabel wants Sawyer’s name removed from the Nov. 6 ballot.

Gabel said that he expects people to submit written affidavits or to testify during the hearing in Topeka on Thursday that Sawyer isn’t living at that address. Gabel declined to name any of those who may testify.

“From any normal person’s perspective, the man doesn’t live in this house,” Gabel said. “If he can prove that he does, more power to him.”

Sawyer is a former House member who ran for governor in 1998 and resigned from the House in 2009 to serve on the Kansas Parole Board. Sedgwick County appraiser records show Sawyer as the owner of the house, and state records show he is registered to vote at the address on South Elizabeth.

“I don’t know what he is talking about,” Sawyer said of Gabel’s allegations.

Sawyer faces incumbent Republican Rep. Benny Boman in the Nov. 6 election.

Gabel’s challenge of Sawyer’s residency is one of many the State Objections Board has considered this year. The board is composed of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Contributing: Associated Press

Reach Brent Wistrom at 785-296-3006 or bwistrom@wichitaeagle.com.

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