BEDFORD COUNTY, Va (WFXR) — Republican candidate, Tim Griffin, running for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 53rd district, is facing scrutiny about where he lives and if he is eligible to run for office.
The address filed by Griffin, as confirmed by the county registrar, when he filed for candidacy is within Bedford County. However, the actual residence in question is a detached garage on the property of another home. The garage had been turned into an apartment, where Griffin has been living.
On Wednesday, the Bedford County Registrar, Barbara Gunter, held a hearing to determine whether or not this is a legal residence.
Gunter says to qualify as a legal residence used for voter registration, it has to be proven that the applicant actually lives in the building and treats it as their home.
“It is my decision that Mr. Griffin has both a place of abode and has established domicile, sufficient to meet the residency requirements of a non-traditional residence in the commonwealth of Virginia, and in Bedford County,” said Gunter.
Gunter said the hearing came after a petition was created by three citizens challenging Griffin’s voter registration address. The petitioners claimed that the detached garage is not considered livable and is not supported as a residence. They also added that there is a lack of proof that Griffin actually lives there.
“While the petitioners allege that the garage cannot be used as a residence, they did not present any evidence that this is not where Mr. Griffin stays or is the place where he lays his head,” said Gunter.
However, Gunter went on to say that nontraditional spaces can qualify as legal residences if it’s where the person sleeps.
She adds that Griffin was able to provide evidence that shows the garage is where he lives– including photographs of the space.
“A residence can be established in a commercial, industrial, or other building that’s not normally used for residential purposes if the building serves as the applicant’s primary nighttime residence,” said Gunter.
Following the hearing, Griffin said he believes the allegations are politically driven, due to the upcoming Republican District Convention.
“I think this is their response, they can’t win on the merit, they can’t win on the issues, they don’t have the votes, so they’re gonna try to sling mud,” said Griffin.
Vying for the same House of Delegates seat as Griffin is Republican candidate Sarah Mays. Mays was at the hearing and says while she is not entirely surprised by the outcome, she believes some citizens could be.
“Concerned citizens having concerns and bringing them to the proper authorities should not initiate the kind of treatment that they received by Mr. Griffin and by his followers that were in the room today,” said Mays.
The Republican District Convention will be held on Saturday, May 6th, at Jefferson Forest High School starting at 10:00 a.m.