A Democratic candidate for the state House says her Republican opponent claims a foreclosed and empty house as his Wichita residence, and she has asked state officials to kick him off the ballot.
If the residency challenge by candidate Monica Marks succeeds and Republican Michael Capps gets booted from the ballot, Marks will be the only major-party candidate on the ballot in District 85, which is heavily Republican. The district straddles the Sedgwick-Butler County line and includes parts of northeast Wichita, Bel Aire, Kechi and Benton.
"I know he doesn't live there," Marks said Monday. "The house appears to be abandoned and there's been a trash dumpster in the middle of the driveway for days."
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Capps did not respond to calls on Monday.
Marks lives a block up the street from the house. As the Democratic precinct committeewoman, she has repeatedly knocked on doors on behalf of Democratic candidates, most recently congressional candidate James Thompson and Wichita City Council member Brandon Johnson, she said.
She said she never met Capps there and that the house had previously been occupied by renters.
Court records show that the house, which belonged to Capps, was foreclosed in January and granted to the bank that holds the mortgage. It's scheduled to be auctioned off at a foreclosure and tax sale on June 27.
Capps filed to run for the District 85 seat on June 1, the last day to enter the race and the same day the judge signed off on the foreclosure sale.
He filed minutes after the incumbent, Rep. Chuck Weber, a Republican, withdrew his candidacy.
Capps had previously filed to run in District 97 but switched after Weber dropped out.
Marks objected to Capps' candidacy on Monday, with her attorney, Vic Miller, sending a letter to the Kansas Secretary of State’s office. The letter will trigger a hearing by the State Objections Board.
The Kansas Constitution requires candidates for the Legislature to remain a “qualified elector who resides in his or her district.” Marks says Capps is not a qualified elector because the voter registration and address used for filing for District 85 is 3103 N. Governeour, which is not where he actually lives.
Capps resides at 2832 S. Chase Avenue, the letter alleges, adding that a stone with the name "Capps" sits outside that property.
The objections board is made up of Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, and Secretary of State Kris Kobach, although they can send proxies from their departments.
Their usual standard of residency is that the person live on the premises claimed, or if absent, intend to return and reside there indefinitely. Candidates can't use their business or rental properties as their residences unless they actually live there.