Charlie Diradour, the local developer who launched his campaign Tuesday to unseat 7th District Rep. Eric Cantor, doesn't live in the district.
Diradour lives in the 2200 block of Monument Avenue, which is about 10 blocks or so outside of the 7th, which officially picks up just west of Interstate 195. Diradour lives in the 3rd District, which is represented by Democrat Bobby Scott.
The U.S. Constitution doesn't require U.S. lawmakers to live in their districts, it turns out. They must only reside in the states they represent, although most actually do live in their districts for obvious political reasons.
Diradour, however, is unapologetic about his residential address.
“I don't live in the district because they gerrymandered the district 10 years ago,” Diradour says, adding that plenty of congressmen don't reside in the districts they represent.
But for first-time Democratic candidates hoping to challenge powerful Republicans in largely Republican districts, it's not recommended.
“It's not helpful,” says Larry Sabato, professor of political science at the University of Virginia, who can already hear the incumbent's political ad. Cue the radio announcer: and he doesn't even live in the district.
And it is, after all, a bit of a political tradition. Living in the district you represent, or hope to represent, would seem to make sense as a representative of the people.
But it also makes sense, says Sabato, that a candidate such as Diradour simply realizes “what the odds are” of defeating Cantor, which can be a good thing. “If you go in with the realization that it's difficult to win, you're willing to take some chances,” he says. “I think he knows the odds are daunting, and [moving] is an expensive thing to do.”