Running in 'other' district
Congressional hopeful Lamare can't vote for himself on primary dayBy JOHN DiSTASO
Senior Political Reporter
June 18. 2012 4:25PM
LEE -- When Republican congressional candidate Dennis Lamare goes to the polling place in his home town of Lee on Sept. 11 to vote in the primary election, a lot of names will be on the ballot.
But not his own.
The Tea Party supporter is taking advantage of a provision of the U.S. Constitution that does not require candidates for U.S. House of Representatives to reside in the district in which they are running. The constitution, in fact, only requires that U.S. House members be an inhabitant (not a resident), 'when elected,' of the state they represent.
History shows that House members were elected on an at-large basis in all states until 1842, when a federal apportionment act instituting districts was enacted. But that law did not change the constitutional absence of a congressional district residency requirement.
So, although Lamare lives in the 1st District, he decided to become a candidate for the U.S. House in the 2nd District. There, he is among four Republican challengers to incumbent Rep. Charlie Bass, while Ann McLane Kuster is the only candidate for the seat on the Democratic side.
It's a rare, but not unheard of, occurrence in New Hampshire.
In 1992, for instance, Richard Bosa of Berlin, which is in the 2nd District, ran in the general election as independent for the 1st District seat and received 3,537 votes, finishing far behind winner Bill Zeliff.
Lamare said Bass isn't the main reason he chose to cross over and run in the 2nd District, rather than the 1st District.
He said he is no more, and no less, impressed with his own congressman, Republican Frank Guinta, than he is with Bass.
'We sent both of them there to do a specific job, which was to stop the spending and lower taxes, and they failed on all counts,' Lamare said Monday.
Lamare said Bass has done 'nothing' to solve the federal deficit and debt problems, and 'I could have used the same arguments against Frank Guinta because his voting record is about the same as that of Charlie Bass.'
The independent insurance agent and former stockbroker said his decision to run in the other district was family-based.
Although he has been a resident of Lee for 23 years, the husband and father of an adult son said he was born and raised in Newport, which is in the 2nd District, and has family and friends there.
'I have a large base of support there,' he said. 'It is an incentive for me to represent the people I know and grew up with.
'If people have a problem with me running in district two, when I live in district one, their priorities are misplaced,' said Lamare. 'They should be more concerned that they are going to have a representative who's going to go to Washington to defend the constitution, defend their rights and work hard to bring down the debt and the deficit.'
This is Lamare's second run for federal office in three years. He ran in the Republican U.S. Senate primary won by Kelly Ayotte in 2010, finishing fifth with 1,388 votes.
Despite the outcome, Lamare ran an aggressive race and even qualified for a key televised pre-primary debate co-sponsored by WMUR television and the New Hampshire Union Leader.
'I've been told I changed the conversation of that primary,' he said.
Lamare counts himself among the thousands of 'liberty-minded' Granite Staters who 'just got fed up with what's going on.'
In 2010, 'I felt that I would make a difference. I didn't think the candidates at that time were telling me what I wanted to hear, which was how they were going to actually fix the problems in Washington.
'It's always the same jargon, the same talking points and it didn't ring true to me,' said Lamare.
Ditto for 2012, he said.
'We need to settle the deficit and debt issues,' Lamare said. 'It seems like Congress is not serious about it because they always kick the can down the road.
'They're not reacting. They're not solving the problem. They're delaying the problem and not responding.
'If they had the political will, they could solve problem in a couple of years,' said Lamare.
Lamare views himself as a 'liberty' candidate as much as a Republican.
On his web site, he writes, 'I would never vote for the Patriot Act, any 'super committee,' National Defense Appropriation Act, the 'non protest' HR 347, all of which are unconstitutional, illegal and immoral. They deprive us of our natural born rights and put us in jeopardy of life and liberty.'
Lamare said there would be no Tea Party 'if the Republican Party was doing its job of defending the constitution and lowering taxes.'
And even at this point in the presidential election process, Lamare is not prepared to endorse Mitt Romney as his party's nominee
He backed Ron Paul in the presidential primary and insisted that the Texas congressman 'is still in the fray, and anything can happen.'