Opponent questions Rankin’s residency

Some voters in Senate District 5 are questioning whether the Republican candidate in the race actually lives in the district.

Robert Rankin, however, says not to worry.

Still, it’s a legitimate question to ask, said his Democratic opponent, Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village.

When Rankin and his wife, Joyce, first moved to Aspen in 1995 from out of state, they purchased a two-bedroom condominium on the north side of the city, which is well inside the expansive Senate district.

Then in 2000, the couple purchased a $2.5 million home on five acres just northeast of Carbondale, where they lived until last year.

That home, located on Garfield County Road 112, is well outside the district, which stretches from Pitkin County south to the New Mexico state line. The district includes Delta County.

Rankin said he and his wife moved back to the Aspen home because the 4,000-square-foot Carbondale house was too big.

“It’s vacant now, but I’m trying to get it on the market, though it’s not much of a market,” Rankin said. “That was too big a house to take care of, so it was always our intent to downsize and move back to Aspen.”

The 67-year-old said he expected the issue of his residency would come up in the race, but he assured district voters he does live in it.

Unlike congressional races, state law requires candidates for legislative offices to have lived in the district they are seeking for at least one year before an election.

Rankin moved back to his Aspen condo in September 2009, and he changed his voter registration information to reflect the move. He had been voting in Senate District 8 for the previous eight years.

Rankin and his wife also have given money to various candidates since returning to Aspen that reflected his old residence, but the candidate said that’s probably because the checks they used still had the Carbondale address.

While Schwartz acknowledged her opponent is a legitimate candidate, she said voters deserve to know where he actually lives.

“Some of my constituents have independently been looking into this, and it’s been confusing,” said Schwartz, who moved to Aspen with her husband, Alan, in 1972.

“Wouldn’t you have reprinted your checks after a year if you have moved someplace else? If that’s where you live and you don’t want anyone to be confused, you might want to have your checks changed.”


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