The open-seatÂ race in the California 19th Congressional District, a Republican-leaning seat where incumbent GOP Rep. George Radanovich is retiring, has produced a very interesting scenario: Several candidates are running in the Republican primary to represent the district's voters -- but hardly any of them actually live there.
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Three candidates are currently in the race: State Sen. Jeff Denham, who was recruited into the race by Radanovich; former Rep. Richard Pombo, who lost re-election in the neighboring 11th District in 2006; and former Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson. Another possible entrant is Fresno councilman Larry Westerlund, who is considering a campaign. Pombo, Denham and Westerlund don't live in the district -- only Patterson does. Denham's state Senate district overlaps with part of the Congressional district, as does Westerlund's council seat, but they do not live in the Congressional district itself.
The U.S. Constitution does not actually require that a Representative live in their district -- instead, it gives a very permissive standard that they must only be a resident of the state at the time of their election. There are in fact members of Congress from both parties who were not district residents at the time of their elections -- recent examples from California alone include Republican Tom McClintock and Democrat John Garamendi.