(AP) — Indiana's newly redrawn congressional maps have shifted U.S. Rep.
Todd Rokita's home outside the district he represents — a change Rokita
blames on fellow Republicans he believes hold a grudge over his efforts to
revamp the state's redistricting process.
The Times of
Munster reports that Rokita's Indianapolis home is about 500 yards outside
the new 4th District boundaries that state lawmakers approved last month and
that were signed into law last week by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Under the U.S.
Constitution, members of Congress are only required to live in the state
they represent, not the district. And Rokita, a first-term congressman,
tells The Times of Munster that he plans to run for re-election in 2012 from
his current home.
"Whether I'm in
the district or 500 yards from it, I don't think it's going to be an issue,"
Rokita told The Times.
However, he said
he believes the redistricting proposals he pursued as Indiana's Secretary of
State may have annoyed some state lawmakers, who then drew him out of his
district. As secretary of state from 2003 to 2010, Rokita championed a
nonpartisan redistricting process that the Republican-controlled General
Assembly declined to follow in this year's redrawing of legislative
"I think once
folks realize the politics of what happened, the fact that they moved the
line 500 yards from where it used to be, and they know that I was a reformer
for the lines and this was kind of a comeuppance thing — I think folks will
understand that," he told The Times. "I'm not a carpetbagger."
Sen. Sue Landske of Cedar Lake presided over the redistricting process in
the Indiana Senate as chairwoman of the Elections Committee. She said the
lines were not drawn to punish Rokita.
"I think he's
tilting at windmills. That's not so, not at all," Landske said. "I didn't
even know where he lived, to tell you the truth."
If Rokita wins a
second term while remaining outside his district he won't be the first
Indiana congressman not to live in the district he represents.
Republican Chris Chocola of Bristol was elected to the 2nd Congressional
District representing LaPorte County and north central Indiana, even though
a 2001 redistricting put his home 1.4 miles outside the district.
That year, his
Democratic opponent, former U.S. Rep. Jill Long Thompson, challenged Chocola
on his residency during the campaign. But Chocola won 50 percent to 45
percent in 2002, and was re-elected in 2004.