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Minnesota GOP Lawmaker Disputes Residency Claim

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican Rep. Bob Barrett provided the state Supreme Court with a copy of his driver’s license and other evidence Thursday that he said proves he lives in his central Minnesota district.

Barrett’s attorneys filed a sharply worded response to an election case that aims to throw the incumbent off the ballot. A voter connected to the Democratic Party has alleged that Barrett actually lives in a home elsewhere and a rental property hasn’t given him the required residency.

The residency case has implications for the party battle for Minnesota House control. If Barrett is disqualified, Democrats may have a better chance at the seat and preserving a slim majority.

The two-term legislator’s filing includes affidavits from his landlord and neighbors attesting to his presence in Lindstrom. Barrett said he and his wife are trying to sell a home in nearby Shafer but need to make improvements to it first. Barrett’s former district was altered after the 2012 redistricting, prompting him to move. His driver’s license and other identifying documents include the Lindstrom address.

Barrett attorney Reid LeBeau II asks the high court to dismiss the case, calling it the product of “deceitful tactics to craft unsubstantiated allegations.”

LeBeau’s filing said Barrett spends some time at his former home as he prepares it for an eventual sale but spends most of his time in the Lindstrom home that he first leased in May 2012. Barrett claims the Shafer house as his homestead for tax purposes but his lawyer said that “does not establish it as his residence.”

Valerie Mondor, who first petitioned the court, has offered her own affidavit from a former neighbor as well as photographs that she says suggest the rental home is vacant.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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