Where did you live and when did you live there?
This has been a recurring theme in recent months in relation to a handful of residency challenges involving candidates for state legislative seats. Republicans have been particularly aggressive in trying to make a case stick against a few Democrats, but it appears that they royally screwed up in one misguided attempt to trip up State Senate candidate Kyle Mullica.
We’ll get to that in a moment, but first some background: In August, outgoing State Sen. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) was indicted by a grand jury for allegations that he registered to vote at an address in which he did not actually live. A few weeks later, it was revealed that Republican State Sen. Dennis Hisey (who is running against Democrat Tony Exum) was moving around like a political transient. Republican attorneys Suzanne
Staiert Taheri and the “Magnificent Putz” George Brauchler then went after Mullica.
As Sara Wilson writes today for Colorado Newsline, another Democrat is in Republican crosshairs:
Boulder County Republicans Chair Theresa Watson submitted a complaint to the Boulder County district attorney’s office last week, according to the party’s Facebook page and as first reported by The Daily Camera, against state Rep. Tracey Bernett.
The complaint alleges that Bernett, a Democrat, changed her address in order to remain eligible to run for reelection in House District 12, even though she still lives at a house that now sits in the newly drawn House District 19.
House District 12 is a pretty safe seat for Democrats given its voter registration makeup, so whatever happens with Bernett won’t likely affect the partisan makeup of the state legislature. That’s a different story for Republicans and Hisey, whose case got more problematic because of how far Taheri and Brauchler pushed their losing case against Mullica.
As The Colorado Sun reported last week:
After a daylong hearing that featured testimony from a private investigator and questions from two high-powered partisan attorneys, Denver District Court Judge Alex C. Myers ruled late Wednesday that state Rep. Kyle Mullica, a Democrat, did not violate a requirement that candidates for Colorado statehouse seats live in the district they are running to represent for a year before Election Day.
Mullica is running to represent Senate District 24 in a closely watched race against Republican Courtney Potter, an Adams 12 Five Star Schools board member. Until November of last year he was registered to vote at his family’s home in Northglenn, where his wife was a city council member. But on Nov. 4, 2021, he changed his voter registration to his mother’s house in Federal Heights.
Mullica says he moved in with his mother to help her manage some health and financial issues. His wife and children stayed in Northglenn.
Taheri and Brauchler apparently didn’t really think through their challenge and what it could mean for the case against Hisey. Their failed Mullica challenge inadvertently proved that Hisey is almost certainly ineligible to seek election in SD-11 (something that was already making Republicans very nervous).
Back to the Sun:
Mullica testified, under questioning from former 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, a Republican, that he would frequently visit his family at the Northglenn home — and sometimes spend the night there — but that he always intended his residence to be his mother’s Federal Heights home after moving there in November 2021. Mullica said moving into his mom’s house was a difficult decision because it meant he couldn’t run for reelection to his House seat, but that she was facing physical and mental health challenges and was struggling with her finances…
…Myers, the judge overseeing the case, said his ruling was a “close call,” but that he found Mullica’s explanation of why he moved credible.
“It is apparent that Rep. Mullica genuinely wanted to care for his mother and moved for that purpose,” Myers wrote. [Pols emphasis]
The case against Mullica ended with a judge agreeing that the Adams County Democrat went about his own residency change in the right way; Mullica clearly had roots in the district in which he lived before he launched his campaign for State Senate.
[Pro Tip: If you ever need an attorney, you’re better off picking someone off of Google than hiring Brauchler, who continually proves that he is the legal equivalent of Nick Riviera from The Simpsons.]
In short, the Mullica ruling sets a precedent that Hisey cannot possibly follow. In an effort to establish residency in SD-11, Hisey “moved” into a house owned by his stepson (Residence #2 above), but Hisey admitted to KRDO in August that he did not have a lease agreement that would be required to establish legal residency. Hisey has since “moved” into an apartment on Westmeadow Drive (Residence #3), though his wife still lives in their longtime home in Fountain (Residence #1).
In their zeal to get Mullica in trouble, Taheri and Brauchler failed to consider the liability on their own side of the political aisle, and Hisey is likely going to pay for their mistake.
Next time, look before you litigate.
hisey lives there now. what's the problem?
I know right. Hisey's a Republican. Republicans shouldn't be held accountable for breaking the law. That's for the little people. /s
Brauchler and Taheri are good at not prepping their cases. Alex Myers was when in private practice and is now on the bench. Do your homework, counsel