GOP Returns Residency Questions In Senate Race

Coats, Bayh Both Face Criticisms Over Where They Live

Republicans on Friday returned attacks over residency in the expected matchup between current Sen. Evan Bayh and former Sen. Dan Coats.

Democrats had questioned Coats' commitment to serve Indiana after he moved out of the state and spent much time as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C.

But Republicans fired back on Friday, pointing to the northwest side home that Bayh, his wife Susan and their two sons list as their official residence.

The $60,000 condo is dwarfed by the family's stately home outside Washington, D.C., a $2.3 million residence, according to tax records.

Materials from the Republican Senate Campaign Committee included a comparison of the two properties with the question, "Which do you think he really considers his home?"

"Evan Bayh do live in this complex," one Indianapolis neighbor told 6News' Norman Cox on Friday, although the senator, who is in the middle of the current congressional session, was not at home.

The Marion County Auditor's Office confirmed on Friday that the Bayhs have filed their homestead deduction at the Indianapolis address, while no such filing is registered at the family's Washington home.

Democratic chairman Dan Parker called the Republican comments ridiculous, especially since Coats just rented a home here this week.

Earlier this week, Democrats released a YouTube video of Coats speaking to North Carolina Republicans two years ago about his imminent move from Virginia to their state.

"And if you don't tell the good people of Indiana … we have joined (my wife's) parents in North Carolina and have a home down there, which we use as a second home, but hope will be our first home," Coats is heard telling supporters. "And then I'll be able to register and vote for your two senators and congressmen."

6News political contributor Abdul-Hakim Shabazz said Coats is the one who will get hurt most if the residency question becomes a major issue.

"Had that tape not been there, this would have just been typical political parties throwing mud back and forth," Shabazz said. "But I think that's going to be the big hurdle Dan Coats is going to have to explain to Hoosiers."

Coats said this week that he takes the attacks as a badge of honor that people consider him a formidable opponent, and that his North Carolina home was just a way to stay close to his wife's elderly parents.

"That's a getaway place for us to go to be close to them. I'm back in Indiana and here to stay," he told Cox.

More than 20 years ago, Republicans challenged Bayh's residency when he first ran for governor, but it failed legally and created sympathy for Bayh that helped him win the election.