Judge Won’t Rule on Thieneman Eligibility Until After Election

A Jefferson Circuit Court Judge will wait until after Election Day to decide whether Republican state Senate candidate Chris Thieneman is an eligible candidate.

Judge Charles Cunningham Jr. issued an opinion Friday that asked for more evidence from both parties in a lawsuit alleging Thieneman is not a legal resident in the 37th Senate District, which covers part of southwest Louisville.

(Read the order here.)

Thieneman is a Louisville developer who is running against Democrat incumbent Perry Clark in a tight race that political observers argue could be an upset.

The case centers on Thieneman’s residence up to Nov. 8, 2011, and whether he was living at a motel on Dixie Highway outside the district or an apartment above a storage facility that he owns. A voter oath form signed by Thieneman shows he listed the motel room as his residency a year prior to the upcoming election.

In the ruling, Cunningham says he is troubled by the events surrounding Thieneman’s voter oath form and questions his decision-making as a state Senate candidate.

From the ruling:

“Mr. Thieneman swore under penalty of perjury that his current address was 11905 Dixie Highway. He swore to this even though he knew that he did not reside there and in fact considered the motel room uninhabitable as a residence. He arguably derived a benefit from this disclosure by being able to, vote in a foreign precinct.

Now, despite these actions, he seeks election in the37th State Senate District by virtue of being a resident at 7650 Dixie Highway for the year preceding the 2012 election on November 6.

At a minimum, one could reasonably question whether a candidate so oblivious to, or unconcerned about, the rules has removed himself from consideration of becoming one of 38 persons who will help make the rules in the Commonwealth for the next several years as a senator.”

The judge is asking for both parties to provide utility records from two of Thieneman’s most recent residences — an East End condominium and the South End apartment above the storage facility.

In the meantime, Cunningham has also ordered the Jefferson County Board of Election to not certify the results of Tuesday’s election until further notice from the court.

UPDATE Saturday 5:00: Thieneman held a press conference this afternoon to say he would deliver all the requested records to the judge “as soon as possible.” Read more here.

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