There are many valid reasons why or why not Luke Messer should be the Republican candidate to run against incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly for U.S. Senate next year. But residency isn’t one of them.
Admittedly, there are times when a candidate’s residency should raise eyebrows, as in an out-of-state carpetbagger we can think of who spent his way into a seat in Congress. But none of that has to do with Luke Messer or Todd Rokita or the other four or five GOP senate candidates or Joe Donnelly himself.
And none of that has anything to do with representing Indiana in the U.S. Senate.
The last time this non-issue surfaced at the Republican primary level was when Richard Mourdock did his best to brand Richard Lugar as some sort of alien non-Hoosier in a GOP primary race.
The fact that Sen. Lugar continued to own property in Indiana and still called this home was overwhelmed by an ad campaign that focused on the fact that while serving in the Senate for several decades it had made sense for Lugar and his family to buy property and establish a place to live there.
What got lost in the blizzard of TV commercials is the simple fact that when we, as voters, send someone to Washington, we disrupt their lives. And if those family lives are to make a lick of sense, they’ll have to involve both a Hoosier and a D.C.-related home.
Sure, the argument resonated a bit more when Evan Bayh was the target. Unlike Sen. Lugar, former governor Bayh had pretty much bailed on the Hoosier state and transferred his affections elsewhere. And, it seemed, many Indiana voters — both Republican and Democrat — felt the same way.
Ultimately, however, it doesn’t matter much.
Our guess is that GOP primary voters will be smart enough to figure that out.