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December 22, 2009

     Modern Day Carpetbagging: The U.S. Constitution only requires members of Congress to be residence of their perspective state "at the time of the election." This minimalist residency requirement has, historically, prompted carpetbagging, the migration from one state to another for the purposes of getting elected.

     The term originated during the Reconstruction Period after the Civil War. Northern politicians would move to the South, arriving with their travel carpetbags, and seek public office. Forging coalitions with various outsiders, they were able to overcome resentment to their recent arrival to win election. A recent example of such a move was
Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) decision to move to New York state prior to the 2000 Senate election.

     But this election cycle has seen more examples of such moves. Chuck Flume (R), who practices dentistry in Wisconsin, plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-NV). Meanwhile, New York City attorney William Bryk (D-ID) has offered himself as the Democratic nominee against Idaho Senator Michael D. Crapo (R-ID).

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