In a situation only slightly less perplexing than being your own grandfather, it turns out that Rep. Allen West is not his own congressman. In fact, the Republican who represents the 22nd District actually lives in the neighboring 20th District represented by Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the congressman he attacked in an over-the-top letter yesterday. So, how is that possible?
The U.S. Constitution only lists three qualification for Representatives to the U.S. House: a) they must be over 25, b) they must have been a U.S. citizen for at least seven years c) they must live in the state they're elected from.
The constitution doesn't mention anything about actually living in the congressional district you represent. Some states have passed laws mandating representatives live in their district, but Florida hasn't done so for federal office (state lawmakers however must live in their district).
West lives in Plantation, Florida, a city divided between the 22nd and 20th districts. He lives in Wasserman Schultz's turf and admitted so during his campaign.
"People thought Congressional District 22 was a better fit for who I am. Me not being a political expert, I listened to people who are better [at political strategy]," West told the Sun-Sentintel at the time.
"I don't think it should be a concern to voters. The Constitution just says you have to live in the state you're running in at the time of the election," he continued. "I don't see myself as some kind of carpetbagger."
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It doesn't appear that West has moved since his election last year.
So there you have it in West's own words: he's a guy who's no expert at politics who doesn't even live in a district that he is supposed to politically represent.