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Published: Wednesday, 10/7/2009

Ohio court sides with senator on residency


COLUMBUS - State Sen. Jon Husted is indeed a Dayton-area resident for voting purposes, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously ruled yesterday, overturning a decision by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.

Mr. Husted, a Republican lawmaker who is running for secretary of state next year, spends most of his time living in suburban Columbus, where his wife owns a house and his oldest son goes to high school.

But Mr. Husted, a secretary of state candidate, has also maintained a home in Kettering, south of Dayton, for the past 15 years and says he intends to return there to live permanently once his service in Columbus is over.

Last year a Montgomery County Republican challenged Mr. Husted's residency, saying the state lawmaker spent too little time in the Dayton-area to qualify as a resident and run for elected office from that area.

The issue has been politically charged, right up to yesterday's court ruling.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections voted 2-to-2 along party lines on Mr. Husted, leaving Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to break the tie.

Ms. Brunner, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, broke the tie by siding with the Democrats. Mr. Husted appealed to the all-Republican state supreme court.

Mr. Husted said the decision ended a "partisan witch hunt" by Ms. Brunner.

Ms. Brunner said her decision "was based on an appellate case involving a strikingly similar fact pattern to the Husted case."

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