Residency Concerns in State Senate District 31

This was submitted by Ron Davis, a resident of Paulding County and blogger at Uphold Liberty.

Here in State Senate District 31, incumbent Bill Heath has two challengers in his bid for another term under the Gold Dome. This has been a pretty typical race so far, except for the unresolved allegation that one of the candidates actually lives in another district.

District 31 includes Haralson, Polk, and much of Paulding County. Bill Carruth, who previously served as Chairman of the Paulding County Commission, is one of the candidates challenging Heath for the seat.

Carruth has a very nice home in Paulding County that he built on a large piece of land. This house, which has been his primary residence, is outside the 31st district. Last fall, Carruth changed his registered voting address to a basic starter home he is renting inside the district.

While there is certainly nothing to prevent Carruth from relocating from his large home outside the district to a small home inside the district, it seems unlikely that a family accustomed to a large home in the country would voluntarily move into a rented starter home.

In June, Paulding County resident Bill Houston filed a complaint with Brian Kemp’s office challenging the legitimacy of Carruth’s candidacy. A hearing was held to consider this challenge last week. When I spoke with Houston this weekend, he said he hopes to have results from the hearing sometime this week.

To be clear, I am not a Bill Heath supporter trying to raise controversy for an opponent. I know Heath, and though I’ve supported him in the past (though reluctantly at times), I am currently undecided in this race. My concern is that someone who does not legitimately live inside my district is scheming and plotting his way to a position of power representing people he has no legal right to represent.

At the very least, Bill Carruth owes the residents of District 31 an explanation and a clarification on this issue. Fortunately, this issue is now before a court that will require Carruth to prove he meets the criteria to be on the ballot.

But even if Carruth is allowed to run for this seat, is his approach of avoiding questions and keeping silent on the issue (except for a frustrated “Liar, liar, pants on fire” response shouted in Bill Heath’s general direction) something the voters of the district will tolerate? I certainly hope not.

11 comments

  1. Calypso says:

    The only question that needs to be answered is, “Did Carruth get Comcast cable installed in his little rental house?”

    If he slogged through that ordeal, then he’s legit as far as I can see.

    • saltycracker says:

      It’s for sure he didn’t get U-Verse – I signed up to switch from Comcast, install July 3 but they reported technical difficulties, engineers on the job, resolution soon…..on line says install date will be before 12/31/36…..,yes 2036…..guy that sold it to me will not return my call…..

      • Calypso says:

        I’ve read of nightmares with U-Verse from folks right here on PP. Sorry to hear of your problems, but it looks like those AT&T guys have things FUBAR.

  2. benevolus says:

    Well if it seems “unlikely” that they would move into a smaller home, that’s good enough for me!

    That could be the wording for the next ballot referendum:
    If it seems unlikely that someone would do something, should it be assumed that they are scheming and plotting?”

    If you can’t beat him, try to disqualify him!

  3. newby says:

    I am interested in the outcome of the hearing. I hope someone will post that as soon as a ruling comes down. Lots of mud flying in this race.

  4. AlanR says:

    I hope someone can post a transcript of the hearing before the election. We would all benefit from seeing how Carruth explained his residence as well as how he answered some of the other questions the judge asked. The challenge wasn’t just about residency.

    This is good chance to see what really happened instead of how Carruth and his opponents spin it in mail etc.

  5. benevolus says:

    Well if you are going to ask those questions, you should also ask about the redistricting. Is the big house in the old district boundary? Did Heath know about this challenger? Did Heath have any input into re-drawing the lines?

    • AlanR says:

      You must have just moved to Georgia, right? Or you’re too young to remember the last time the lines were drawn?

      I’m sure Carruth explained everything at the hearing. I just want to know what he said without the filter of competing campaigns.

      Thanks for raising the question, Jason.

  6. neomaxcom says:

    With a large enough population to merit its own State Senate district, Paulding residents were a bit disappointed when the county was split … again leaving us with two senate districts, both of which involve politicians from outside the county.

    Still, the point is that with over 70 percent of the voting population of District 31, this is Paulding’s Senate District and Bill Heath, who was trounced 2:1 in his home county of Haralson, is most notably not a resident of Paulding.

    Indeed, we suspect that what ever influence that Mr. Heath exerted on those drawing the lines for the 2010 redistricting, was done to give him as safe a seat as was possible. I wonder if it went so far as to draw the personal residence of Mr. Carruth – who has considered the race for State Senate since leaving office as the Paulding Commission Chair and who was in the district until the line defining the district was drawn literally less than 500 feet from his front door.

    Still, the issue with Mr. Carruth and district 31 is simply this. Who can represent Paulding best in the General Assembly – a man who is not a resident at all; a man who has done nothing for Paulding and a man so disrespected by his neighbors that has lost the support of the residents of his home county?

    Or man who has represented Paulding as its commission chairman in a notably progressive term of office?

    The answer is obvious to me.

    There is a second issue here as well. Mr. Heath earned a reputation when he ran for this seat back in 2004 of being willing to slander with grotesque lies anyone who had the audacity to run against him. That act of intense negativity was so horrendous that it has assured us that no decent human being would even consider running in large part in fear that Mr. Heath would lie so egregiously about them as to may any victory Pyrrhic.

    On that score, the sooner he is removed from office, in my mind, the better and I give good props to both Mr. Carruth and Mr. Rogers for having the guts to put on their waders and walk through the valley of @/&! that most certainly is coming their way from this allegedly moral man.

  7. newby says:

    Bill Carruth will remain on the Ballot. Hearing was held and he was found to be qualified to run.

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