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2010: Birdwell's Eligibility in Question

Residency requirements tripped up Brian Birdwell's previous effort to enter the Texas Legislature, and it looks like they will again.

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In 2007, 9/11 Pentagon attack survivor Brian Birdwell flirted with the idea of a run for the seat occupied by state Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland. It was a non-starter because it turned out he didn’t meet the constitutional requirement of two years of Texas residency preceding the election. Now, he’s filed in the special election to replace state Sen. Kip Averitt, R-Waco, and stands to be undone by the same problem.

The Texas Senate has slightly more rigorous eligibility standards than the lower chamber. According to the Texas Constitution, “No person shall be a Senator, unless he … shall have been a resident of this State five years next preceding his election.” Simple logic would suggest that if Birdwell was unable to adequately demonstrate two years of residency prior to November of 2008, then it will be impossible to establish that he has been living in Texas for five years preceding the May 8 special election.

There are other indications that further hurt his case. A post on Birdwell’s website, dated February 22, 2008, says, “LTC (Ret.) Brian and Mel Birdwell moved to Granbury, TX in June 2007.” A September 2006 article in the Dallas Morning News seems to confirm this date: “These days, the Birdwells are busy getting ready to move to Texas in June — the day after their son finishes high school.” According to Birdwell’s press release announcing his candidacy, his son is now a junior at Texas Tech.

Birdwell also voted in a November 7, 2006, election in Virginia. In order to do so, he was required to be a registered voter in that state, which includes filling out a form swearing “under felony penalty” that he was a Virginia resident.

Despite this, the campaign appears to be marching on. "Lt. Col. (Ret.) Brian Birdwell is a lifelong Texan and is eligible to run for State Senate,” Maggie Moran, Birdwell’s campaign spokesperson, said in a statement. “For the past 37 years, the only time he has lived out of state is when he was serving his country or when he was receiving medical treatment for wounds received while serving his country. Birdwell will soon be filing his papers for State Senate."

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