Ask Us: Can you run for Congress if you don’t live in the district?

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 30, 2019

Editor’s note: Ask Us is a weekly feature published online Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to

SALISBURY — Can you run for Congress in a district that you don’t live in?

A reader asked the question because Salisbury’s new Congressional district looks slightly different than before, stretching from Rowan County to counties at the North Carolina-Virginia border. The reader specifically asked about Rep. Ted Budd, who represents the 13th District and is running for re-election. But Budd lives in the new 13th District.

Still, members of the House of Representatives don’t have to live in the district that they represent, said Patrick Gannon, State Board of Elections public information officer. Proof of that comes via the fact that Scott Huffman, a Democrat who lives in Cabarrus County, is running for the 13th District despite the fact that the district stops at the Rowan County line.

The Constitution of the United States sets the requirements for both the House of Representatives and Senate members. Members of the House of Representatives must be at least 25 years old, have been citizens of the United States for at least seven years and live in the state that they are running in, although they don’t have to live in the district itself.

Under the recent redistricting, the 13th District district Davie, Rowan, Davidson, Randolph, Alamance, Caswell and Person counties, as well as parts of Iredell, Chatham and Lee counties. The 13th is the only district that covers Rowan County under the new map. The 8th District, represented by Richard Hudson, stops at the Cabarrus County line.

So, Budd, who lives in Davie County, is allowed to run in the 13th Congressional district and Huffman is, too. They’re the only candidates who filed to run for the 13th District in 2020.

This year, the North Carolina General Assembly redrew both the Congressional district map as well as the map and used to elect legislators to the North Carolina Senate and House.

Courts found that the former Congressional maps were partisan gerrymanders — when they are drawn in a way that advantages one party over another. For example, 10 of the 13 current House members from North Carolina are Republican, although the state is a battleground state with a close split between Democrat and Republican votes.

At the beginning of December, the three-judge Wake County Superior Court panel ruled that the new congressional map, drawn by the General Assembly after the old one was stuck down, could be used in the 2020 primaries in March.