Favorite

Keet's residency 

Is the Republican candidate for governor, Jim Keet, eligible to run?

A reader on our Arkansas Blog raised this question last week, pointing to the Arkansas Constitution. It says, "No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor except a citizen of the United States, who shall have attained the age of thirty years, and shall have been seven years a resident of this state."

Jim Keet is 61. Born in Missouri, he came to Arkansas in 1975 to work in the restaurant business and eventually was elected to terms in both the Arkansas House and Arkansas Senate.

He has been a resident of the state for well more than seven years, all told. But he has not been a resident of Arkansas for the last seven years.

Keet became a registered voter in Florida in 2003, after moving to the Florida Panhandle to manage Barnhill's Buffet, a restaurant chain. He struck a deal to sell the chain, for an undisclosed amount, in 2005. He continued to be a legal resident of Gulf Breeze, Fla., and voted in Florida elections.

Keet told me he stayed in Florida after the restaurant chain sold because two children remained in school in Florida and he was trying to sell his house there. He did have continuing business interests here.

"Anybody who ever asked, I'd always say I'm here [Florida] on a mission, but Arkansas is my home."

Keet added that his decision to settle in Florida – and remain there after the sale of his restaurant investment – had nothing to do with taxes. Florida has no state income or capital gains tax.

Keet moved back to Little Rock in early 2009 and began working on opening the Taziki's Greek restaurant. He registered to vote in Arkansas in January 2010.

Voting registration was one of the factors considered by the Arkansas Supreme Court when it rejected a challenge to Bill Halter's eligibility to run for lieutenant governor in 2006. (The eligibility requirement is the same as that for governor.) Halter had been away from Arkansas for years, many of them working for the Clinton administration. The Supreme Court wrote: "[T]he many actions taken by... Halter to retain his connection to Arkansas, including voting in Arkansas, maintaining an Arkansas driver's license, and filing Arkansas income taxes, do not demonstrate an intent to abandon his residency in Arkansas, nor an intent to establish residency in any other state. ..."

Keet can't produce the same sort of supporting evidence, beyond his professed general intent. So then comes the question of whether the seven years of residency must immediately precede a candidacy for governor. The state Supreme Court dodged that issue in the Halter case:

"In reaching this decision, we need not address plaintiff's additional argument that the trial court erred in concluding that Halter was not required to have an actual place of abode in ARKANSAS for the seven years 'immediately preceding' the election. As we uphold the trial court's finding that Halter never abandoned his domicile in Arkansas, we must necessarily conclude that Halter clearly met the seven-year requirement in Ark. Const. art. 6, § 5, as amended, irrespective of whether those seven years must be spent in Arkansas in the years immediately preceding the election or in any given seven years."

I'm sympathetic to the cumulative residency argument, but I'm not the Supreme Court. Keet, for his part, said through a spokesman that he is "fully qualified" and "easily meets the legal requirements."

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Trump launches attack on 'SOBs' of the NFL

    Donald Trump led a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange Friday night and the resulting news coverage (if not in our local newspaper) is giving great attention for his rant against the NFL, including but not limited to players who have made political statements by taking a knee during the National Anthem.
    • Sep 23, 2017
  • Driver killed in crash with Maumelle officer

    Maumelle police report the death early this morning of a motorist who crashed head-on with a Maumelle police officer. The officer and two passengers in the other vehicle were injured.
    • Sep 23, 2017
  • Walmart lawyer picked for U.S. attorney in western Arkansas

    Donald Trump has nominated Duane "Dak" Kees,  director of global ethics and compliance at Walmart Stores, to be U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas. It has been filled on an interim basis by a career lawyer in the office.
    • Sep 22, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016
  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Aid politics

    The still-unfolding catastrophe in Houston is, first, a human tragedy. But when politicians try to tell you that a time of enormous human tragedy is not a time to talk about politics, it likely means the politics are embarrassing to them.
    • Aug 31, 2017
  • Save the statues!

    The Democratic Party of Arkansas has called for relocation of Confederate monuments from public places, such as courthouse squares and the Capitol lawn, to history museums or private grounds.
    • Aug 24, 2017
  • Charter secret

    These are hard times for those who believe in traditional public schools, run by democratically elected representatives, open to all on equal terms.
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Once again commentators blame the victim. Social scientists, of whom I am one, regularly find…

    • on September 22, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • Shiny, nobody is saying that Hillary isn't entitled to speak. Shit, the more she talks,…

    • on September 21, 2017
  • Re: Bad health care bill, again

    • Its hard to tell what the GOP in Arkansas care about beyond making life worse…

    • on September 20, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation