A residency challenge has been filed against Georgia House of Representatives candidate Leonard Gomez, alleging he doesn’t actually live in House District 132.
Rep. Bob Trammell, D-Luthersville, who currently serves as the representative for District 132, filed the challenge with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday.
Gomez is running as a Republican against Trammell.
Under Georgia law, a candidate for state house must live in the district for at least one year at the time of the election.
Gomez has lived in Grantville for many years – he and his wife bought a home there in 2003 – but that house was sold in March, and his wife bought a house in Newnan in October 2017.
Gomez had been serving on the Grantville City Council, but stepped down in 2017. He didn’t run for reelection in 2017, and at a December 2017 council meeting, when his replacement was sworn in, Gomez said that he would be moving to Newnan.
In his declaration of candidacy for the Georgia House 132 seat, Gomez lists his address as 1 Main St., Apt. 2, Grantville. That was filed on March 8, according to documents included in Trammell’s challenge. In his financial disclosure, filed March 19, Gomez listed his long-time Grantville address.
According to Coweta tax records, the Gomezes sold that home on March 22. The home Mrs. Gomez owns is located in House District 70.
In his challenge, Trammell states that the apartment at 1 Main St. is uninhabited and that the utilities had not been connected as of Sept. 1.
On Wednesday, the electrical meter for the apartment appeared to be operational.
“This letter documents what appears to be a very troubling attempt to perpetuate a serious fraud upon the voters of the 132nd House District and the state of Georgia," Trammell writes. “The facts outlined in this letter and supported with the accompanying document hereto warrant an investigation and hearing into this matter.”
If Gomez can’t provide adequate documentation that he meets the residency requirement, he should be removed from the ballot, Trammell writes.
“Fundamentally, this is an issue about trust,” Trammell said Wednesday. “If you can’t be honest about where you live, how can people trust you with anything else?
“Residency is a job requirement,” he added. “And he lied on the job application about the most basic requirement for the job, which is where you live."
In 2011, newly elected mayor Jim Sells was subject to a similar residency challenge by his opponent in the 2010 mayor’s race, Doug Jewell. Jewell now serves as mayor.
Sells and his wife owned a home in Peachtree City, where his wife lived, but Sells listed his address as an apartment in Grantville. Following a hearing, the Coweta Board of Voter Registrars voted unanimously that Sells met the residency requirements.
Gomez could not be reached for comment.