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Kansas Debates How Much Time Its Senators Actually Have to Spend There

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Peter Z. Scheer
Managing Editor
Peter Scheer grew up in the newspaper business, spending family vacations with his mother at newspaper editors' conferences, enjoying daycare in editorial departments and begrudgingly reviewing his father's…
Peter Z. Scheer

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The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Republican Sen. Pat Roberts on Monday was allowed to keep his job despite a challenge brought by tea party activists claiming he spends so much time out of Kansas, he wouldn’t even qualify for in-state tuition if he went back to school.

The senator’s attorney argued in his defense that the Senate spent 140 days in session the prior year and Roberts had a 98 percent voting record.

Roberts faces a primary challenge from tea partyer Milton Wolf, who is probably pleased simply to have the issue raised.

The case was tossed, with the entire State Objections Board recusing itself because all three officials have already endorsed Roberts. Three stand-ins instead ruled in favor of the senator.

So how much time should a representative have to spend among his or her people?

According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, Roberts and his wife reside primarily at their home in Virginia. That’s to be expected of a senator. But there’s more: While Roberts owns a duplex in Dodge City (of wild west fame), he rents it out. Roberts, in order to qualify as a resident, pays rent to someone else in town.

Red State says, “Sen. Roberts’ wife is even a very successful real estate agent — in Virginia.”

Roberts himself joked to The New York Times that he sleeps on a recliner when he comes into town, however, “Nobody knows the state better than I do.”

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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