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Q: Carpetbag Mayoral Candidates - Is it possible today? ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Carpetbag Mayoral Candidates - Is it possible today?
Category: Relationships and Society
Asked by: townattorneygeneral-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 20 Dec 2005 17:07 PST
Expires: 19 Jan 2006 17:07 PST
Question ID: 608232
Are there any towns, villages or other municipalities in any of the 50
states in which a non-resident of the town, village or municipality
(and state) can lawfully run for mayor? It seems to me that residence
requirements are easily evaded, and even that a mayor after election
probably remains mayor even if he moves out of town. I live in New
York and would like to run for mayor somewhere in the U.S. without
having to move. City managers probably have no residency requirement.
Subject: Re: Carpetbag Mayoral Candidates - Is it possible today?
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 20 Dec 2005 19:20 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

Nice to see you again, and thanks for an intriguing question.

Looks like you have a few options available, at least.

A nice place to start might be taking a shot at being mayor of New
York City, especially since you live in the state already:

...Klein may protest that he's not a resident of New York City--he
lives in the suburbs. But that's no excuse. There's no residency
requirement! Klein can be a candidate for mayor the same way Bill
Clinton, who also lives in the suburbs, can be a candidate for mayor.
Maybe if Klein wins he'd have to move into the city. But the way I see
it, he has no excuse for not running.

It seemed hard to believe this, but I spent quite a while checking a
variety of city and state election law documents, and found nothing
about residency requirements for mayor.  You can look for yourself, at
the New York State election laws (which, as far as I understand
things, set the rules for NYC as well):


There are multiple options in Maryland, though there a bit hard to pin down:

...Alderman Lenhart stated that according to the Maryland Municipal
League (MML), the average residency requirement for Mayor is one (1)
year.  Ten municipalities have no residency requirement.

Unfortunately, a search of the site of the MML:

didn't uncover a list of the ten towns, but if MD sounds of interest,
you can always get in contact with the MML for more details.


Caņon City, Colorado might be nice:

...The Mayor and three Council members are elected with no residency
requirements; the remaining four Council members each have districts
for which they must meet residency requirements.

You can get in touch with the city clerk's office at:

City of Caņon City
P.O. Box 1460
128 Main Street
Caņon City, CO. 81212
Tel. (719) 269-9011    
Fax. (719) 269-9017


I trust the above examples are enough to whet your appetite, and make
for a complete answer to your question.

However, please don't rate this answer if you find you'd like any
additional information.  If there's a particular town or area for
which you'd like more details, be sure to let me know.  Just post a
Request for Clarification to let me know how to assist your further,
and I'm at your service.

Best of luck,


search strategy -- Google searches on [ mayor ] along with other terms like:

"no residency"

townattorneygeneral-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Thanks to the Answer and the 1st comment, I (as the person submitting
the original question) have spent some time looking up case law, both
federal and state, on the matter of residency requirements for local
office. An apparent majority of the cases dealing with the issue have
struck down the residency requirement, for various reasons. One of the
most compelling is 1st (freedom of speech) and 14th (denial of equal
protection) because the requirment prevents citizens from having a
mayor or other elected official of their choice. The standard for the
court's review of the restriction is strict, and requires the
municipality to show that there is no less restrictive way to
accomplish a legitimate interest of the municipality. One decision
said that residency does not ensure knowledge of government, but the
requirement could exclude someone with more knowledge than a resident.
The conclusion I have reached, and offer it as an amendment to the
answer above, is that virtually anyone in the United States could
probably run for mayor of any town, village or other municipality,
although the right to such candidacy might have to be enforced by
seeking judicial relief. The researcher did not have access to the
federal and state decisions and could not have come up with the
answer, more than likely, by searching newspaper and magazine
articles. The comment by tcrimsonk-ga (see below) inspired me to do a
fairly good search of federal and state cases, although I could not
find any published decision relating to Frederick City, MD.
In light of this, it seems possible for a group of reform-minded
residents in a town to find and promote their own reform candidate,
even if the candidate is not a resident of the town.
townattorneygeneral-ga 12/23/05

Subject: Re: Carpetbag Mayoral Candidates - Is it possible today?
From: tcrimsonk-ga on 23 Dec 2005 06:53 PST
This has come up recently in local politics in Frederick City,
Maryland.  A man moved into Frederick County (the county that
Frederick City is a part of), and ran for mayor, despite the 3 year
residential requrement.  When the existing city government tried to
keep him from running, he sued the City.  Ultimately, he won the law
suit, on the basis that the residential requirement was
unconstitutional.  The Judge went so far as to say that the people of
Frederick have the right to vote for whomever they like, and that no
law can stand in the way of that right.  Ironically, the US
Constitution itsself contains similar restrictions, on who can be
elected as the US President.

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