The Democratic primary race for the vacant state House seat has heated up (again) with candidate Kevin Gallagher’s charge that only he is a longtime resident of District 89. Opponent Jeanne Richardson counters that Gallagher’s flyer mailout on the subject is loaded with inaccuracies. Meanwhile, the dangerous-looking guy on the flyer (pictured here) is apparently just a stock photo Gallagher (or a surrogate) got by googling “angry citizen.” (Richardson hopes people think it’s Kevin himself.)
Among the things that Gallagher charges in the flyer that went out late last week are that he owns his home in the district, while Richardson does not, that he managed former state senator Steve Cohen’s successful 2006 congressional campaign while Richardson “could not vote for Steve Cohen for state Senate” because she lived outside the district, and that for similar reasons she was never able to vote for former District 89 representatives Beverly Marrero or Carol Chumney.
Says Richardson: “The only thing that’s completely accurate is that I wasn’t able to vote for Beverly Marrero, whom I support, however.” She insisted that while she lived for some years with a former husband on Mud Island, she rented her current resident in District 89 back in Februrary, lives there (in the Evergreen Historical District) and intends to buy the house.
Richardson says further that she lived at three prior District 89 addresses before moving to Mud Island in 1990 (on Pope, Crensaw, and North Drive) and that she indeed voted for Cohen for the state Senate during that time frame and not only voted for Chumney (in 1990) but hosted a fundraiser for her in the district that year.
Gallagher’s flyer notes that the house that Richardson now rents is owned by her current campaign treasurer, Amanda McEachran. Richardson concedes the point but says she moved there (with family members) before she made up her mind to run (“it was even before Beverly won her state Senate race [for District 30], and I couldn’t have made plans to run by then”). She also says that she is endeavoring to buy the house and that she is completing the sale of her former Mud Island residence.
For his part, Gallagher contends he belongs to “the 3rd generation of Gallaghers to live in this district and is raising the 4th generation” in it. His flyer is headed “Know the Facts! Only One Democrat in the Race for State Representative is Actually From the District.”
For the last day or two, both he and Richardson have been making their rounds while packing folders with papers supporting their respective claims. The to-do involving residence recalls a similar issue raised by Marrero in 2004 when she won her own special election for District 89 to succeed Chumney, who had been elected to the city council. In her primary against opponent Jeff Sullivan, she charged that Sullivan had voted from a district residence he had not yet moved into.
Richardson and Gallagher, who appeared together at a forum Sunday at the Gay and Lesbian Center in Cooper-Young are generally conceded to be running neck-and-neck in the Democratic primary. Each can claim impressive endorsements: Richardson boasts both Marrero and Chumney, while Gallagher has the public support of Rep. Cohen and county commissioner Deidre Malone.