Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, is among only four freshmen congressman to buy a house in the Washington, D.C., area, according to a recent report by The Hill newspaper.
Stutzman’s Democratic opponent in the Nov. 6 election is trying to turn that purchase into a campaign issue.
“In my opinion, purchasing a home as a freshman indicates an arrogant assumption that the people will blindly return one to Washington,” Kevin Boyd said in a statement Monday.
Boyd said a House seat “is a temporary role that one enters with the understanding that one does not need permanent headquarters in Washington.”
Stutzman said Tuesday in response: “In order for me to be an active father and husband, my family has decided to have our home in LaGrange County and a house in Virginia. In D.C., I see no reason to hang out with the lobbyist crowd when I can have dinner with my family as often as possible.”
The home is in Alexandria, Va. In an interview published last December by The Journal Gazette, Stutzman said he and his wife, Christy, wanted their two sons “back home and around the farm during the summer months and then school out here (in Alexandria).”
The Hill reported Saturday that some of the 95 freshmen -- of which 87 are Republicans -- live in their offices when the House is in session.
In addition to Stutzman, The Hill said freshmen with mortgages in the Washington area include another Hoosier, Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-8th. The others are Reps. Scott Rigell, R-Va., and Rob Woodall, R-Ga. An aide to Woodall said he has a 380-square-foot efficiency condo.
The Hill collected the information from House members' financial disclosure forms. The newspaper noted that members do not have to provide information about rental properties.
Boyd pointed out that when Stutzman sought the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010, he ran a TV ad in which a narrator called Stutzman “a fourth-generation farmer who, unlike his opponents, has never had an address in Washington, D.C.”
Both Stutzman and Boyd plan public campaign events this week.
Stutzman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence will have an “early voting kickoff rally” from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Swiss Re building at 1700 Magnavox Way in Fort Wayne. Rep. Pence, R-6th, is running against Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rupert Boneham.
Boyd was scheduled to make a campaign appearance Tuesday evening at the St. Regis Club in Warsaw. He will have public events at 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at Link’s Wonderland, 1711 E. Creighton Ave., Fort Wayne; at 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Peabody Public Library, 1160 Ind. 205, Columbia City; and at 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Firefly Coffee House, 3523 N. Anthony Blvd., Fort Wayne.