Democratic District 24 Senate candidate J.D. Wooten may have some explaining to do.
Wooten moves a lot and there is nothing wrong with that, unless you are running for the state Senate in one district, and the house you moved into after buying with a Veterans Affairs (VA) loan is in another.
Senate District 24 includes all of Alamance County and an eastern portion of Guilford County. District 24 is currently represented by state. Sen. Rick Gunn, who is not running for reelection. The Republican candidate for state Sen. District 24 is Chair of the Alamance County Board of Commissioners Amy Galey.
The problem for Wooten is that a Veteran Affairs loan is only available for a primary residence and the terms require that the buyer move into the house within 60 days of purchasing it and reside there for one year.
Wooten ran for the state Senate District 24 seat from an address at 1607 Hargrove Dr. in 2018 and lost to Gunn.
In March 2019, Wooten bought a house with a VA loan at 101 South Lindell Road in Greensboro, which is in state Senate District 28 represented by Democratic state Sen. Gladys Robinson, who has in the past beaten former Guilford County Commissioner Bruce Davis and Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston to retain her seat. Wooten wouldn’t stand a chance running against Robinson.
But state law requires that state legislators live in the district they represent for a year prior to being elected. By comparison, a member of Congress doesn’t ever have to live in the district they represent as long as they live in the state.
Although Wooten says he lived in the house on Lindell Road in Greensboro, he never changed his voter registration address to the Lindell Road address.
When Wooten announced he was going to run for the District 24 seat in May 2019, presumably he was living on Lindell Road in District 28.
In October 2019, when Wooten filed to run for the District 24 seat he listed his address as 4817 Redland Court in McLeansville, which is in District 24.
According to voter registration records, until he changed his address to Redland Court his address was 1607 Hargrove Dr., which is the address that he listed when he ran in 2018.
Although Wooten was according to the terms of his loan living in the house on Lindell Road for most of 2019, he never changed his voter registration to that address.
Wooten filed an amended campaign finance report in July of this year, changing his address on some expenditures and in-kind contributions from the Hargrove Road address to the Lindell Road address, which officially according to voter registration records was not his address.
NC Republican Party press secretary Tim Wigginton said in a press release, “J.D. Wooten admitted that he did not meet the VA occupancy requirements, even though he signed a deed of trust certifying that he would occupy the house for a year. Now he’s trying to pretend it didn’t happen and hide the truth from the voters.”
The Lindell Road house is reportedly now a rental.