The Utah congressional election Tuesday was historic in one unusual way: Winner Jason Chaffetz did not vote for himself. He could not. He does not live in the 3rd District, which he will now represent in the House of Representatives.
Research by the Deseret News and House historians show he may be only the third House member ever clearly not to live in the district that he represents.
The constitution requires only that House members be inhabitants of the state where they are elected and Chaffetz meets that criterion by residing in Alpine, which is in Democrat Rep. Jim Matheson's 2nd District and about 2.5 miles away from the nearest boundary with the 3rd District. Alpine is in the only small strip of Utah County not in the 3rd district.
Chaffetz said he loves Alpine, and expects it to eventually be redrawn into his district. He said has lived in Utah County the heart of the 3rd District for 20 years, so he can represent the area well.
The only other House members in history identified that clearly did not live in their districts were both from Maryland, Rep. Parren J. Mitchell (who served from 1971-87) and William McCreery (1803-09).
Mitchell, who was African American, chose to run in a district that was more heavily black than his home district. McCreery was elected from a Baltimore district where he had lived for years, but he had recently move to a rural area.
Through the years, many others were accused of not living in their districts but at least rented apartments or purchased houses within the district to at least appear to be living among the people they sought to represent.