“The deadline for registration is June 30th, but despite the relatively short time frame involved, there are already allegations that one of the candidates has violated state residency laws.”
On July 9th, voters in the 6th State Senate District will have the chance to select the Republican Nominee against Democratic Senator Ralph Northam in a Saturday Convention at the Granby Street Masonic Temple.
The deadline for registration is June 30th, but despite the relatively short time frame involved, there are already allegations that one of the candidates has violated state residency laws.
According to the Virginia State Board of Elections, “prospective voter must be a resident of the precinct where he seeks to register.” The Virginia State Code clarifies this further in saying that:
“Residence” or “resident,” for all purposes of qualification to register and vote, means and requires both domicile and a place of abode. To establish domicile, a person must live in a particular locality with the intention to remain. A place of abode is the physical place where a person dwells.
Political Activist Conner Clarke is skeptical about the whole situation and claims Loyola only rented the home in an attempt to satisfy the state’s residency requirement.
“There’s no car in the driveway, some kind of strange permit on the window, and there’s no way that a millionaire lives in a town home,” he says. “His listed home at Wilderness Lane looks much more suited to his lifestyle. It would seem that he purchased the town home in an effort to secure in-district housing.”
The home on Wilderness Lane that Clarke refers to is the one in Pungo that Loyola lived in during his unsuccessful Congressional race in 2010. As you can see in the map below, it lies far outside the 6th Senate District.
The second candidate in the race, Dr. Joanne Lapetina, had been registered to vote in the Richmond area up until two weeks ago when she decided to run for the State Senate. Although according to her biography, she has lived in the Ocean View area of Norfolk since she started working at the DePaul Hospital Emergency Room in 2006, and graduated Norfolk Christian High School in 1977 and Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1989. Her children and husband, however, live in Richmond.
At a recent meeting of the Norfolk Republican Party, David O’Kelly, a supporter of Loyola and a member of the Republican Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee, said that Lapetina may have been forced into running and claimed she could not balance campaigning and spending time with her family while making note of her and her husbands separation.
This provoked a response from Tyler Spires, a Lapetina Supporter and former Chairman of the ODU College Republicans, who responded by questioning whether Loyola had ever left his house in Pungo. When contacted for comment, Spires said that “when you look at his mega-mansion in Pungo and then the shoddy duplex in Chic’s Beach, you realize there is no way he is really living in the district.”
When contacted for this article to respond to these charges, the Loyola campaign refused to comment whereas the Lapetina Campaign released a statement citing her absentee voting status and demanding job as an ER doctor as reasons why she has never updated her registration after 5 years of living in the district and why her children live in Richmond.
According to Campaign Consultant Melody Scalley, “Dr. Lapetina is in charge of the Emergency Room at DePaul hospital, at work over 60 hours a week, and has always voted absentee because of her job. Her husband is the Interim Director of Training and Exercises for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, a job that requires him to be in Richmond. He works fewer hours then she does and for that reason the children are with him during the week and with her in Norfolk on the weekend.”