Andrew Romanoff establishes residency in Congressional District Six to challenge Rep. Mike Coffman

Candidate not required to live in district

AURORA, Colo. - The Constitution doesn't require it, but Andrew Romanoff just moved to Aurora ahead of his candidacy for Congressional District Six.

The former Colorado House Speaker announced his candidacy 21 months before the 2014 election. He hopes to unseat three-time incumbent, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman.

7NEWS found that Romanoff was registered to vote for the November 2012 election at an apartment in the Cherry Creek area of Denver. He just recently moved to Aurora in a part of Congressional District Six.

"I think the quality of the representation matters more than the duration," Romanoff told 7NEWS. "I think if you can run a retail level race, if you can meet your neighbors, you're a more effective representative."

The Constitution only requires that a congressional candidate be the following:

  • At least 25 years of age
  • A U.S. resident for at least sevent years
  • Reside in the state you wish to represent

"Why as a voter, should I be OK with that?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger.

"Some voters might not be. Some voters may well say, 'Look, I like your record of leadership, I like the fact that you work across the aisle, I like the fact that you brought Democrats and Republicans together to solve problems, but I care more about where you spent most of your time,'" said Romanoff.

Romanoff served four two-year terms in the Colorado House of Representatives. He unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Michael Bennet in 2010 for his Democratic Senate nomination.

Congressional District Six covers Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties. Romanoff used to work at the Community College of Aurora and represented parts of Arapahoe County while serving in the state House. He also said he served all residents of Congressional District Six while serving as Speaker of the House.

In the 2012 election, Coffman was also challenged by a Democratic candidate who moved into the district during the campaign.

"When I declared in July of 2011, I had not yet moved in and then I moved in shortly thereafter," said Joe Miklosi. "If you're qualified for the job, then that's the discussion you should be having with voters."

7NEWS reviewed voter registration statistics as of Feb 1. This is the makeup of Congressional District Six:

  • Republican: 128,882
  • Democrat: 121,168
  • Independent: 110,652

"That's going to draw some of the strongest candidates to run for that office," said Miklosi. "That's when the best debate will occur and that's a win for the voters."

"The interesting question here, I think, is, 'What will the voters make of this?'" said University of Denver political science professor Peter Hanson. "They're many people who are new to that area and may not be deeply rooted there themselves."

He pointed out that former first lady Hillary Clinton established residency in New York to run for the U.S. Senate in 2000.

"She didn't really have roots in New York, but she did run for Senate there and ultimately she was very successful and voters there thought that she did a good job," said Hanson.

He also said former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, was defeated after voters felt he lost touch with his constituents.

"Ultimately, this is up to the voters and if the voters think it's unfair then they can make that known on Election Day," said Hanson.

7NEWS contacted Coffman's office about being challenged by another new resident. In a statement, Coffman spokesman Owen Loftus said:

"We just had an election, and voters elected Congressman Coffman to be their representative, not a full-time candidate. Over the next two years, Congressman Coffman is focused on doing what he was elected to do -- fighting for the working families, veterans and job creators of this district."

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