A conservative Republican candidate for the Kansas House of Representatives, with a history of running in multiple states, is being questioned on whether he lives in Idaho or in a Kansas apartment he just rented where the utilities have not been turned on.
The landlord of John Gotts, a Republican candidate for an Atchison County area House seat, told the Topeka Capitol-Journal that Gotts and his wife have not turned on the utilities in the apartment and that he has not seen them in the building. James Madden, the landlord also said that Gotts has paid the first month's rent but has not paid the second month's rent.
Gotts denied the accusations to the Capitol-Journal.
Gotts, reached by phone Monday, acknowledged that he's behind on the rent, but said that was related to a dispute with his landlord over a security deposit.
"I have the contract right here," Gotts said. "It doesn't say anything about a security deposit."
Gotts explained that he had not turned on any utilities at his Atchison residence yet because after renting it he returned to Idaho to wrap-up business there. Gotts, who founded a social media management company called Chumly, told the Capital-Journal last week he is serving as the volunteer social media director for the Kansas Republican Party.
He said Monday that he was being fiscally responsible by not registering utilities at a residence he's not currently using.
Gotts, who said he'd be returning to Kansas shortly, is challenging Democratic incumbent Jerry Henry for the seat with the backing of Gov. Sam Brownback (R). Gotts has a history of running for office in various states. In 2009, he was a Democratic nominee for a seat in the Washington House of Representatives and hinted that he'd seek a congressional district in the state this year. On one LinkedIn page, Gotts lists himself as a candidate for the Idaho state Senate and on another lists himself as a Kansas resident.
In a blog entry Gotts posted June 14, he announced his new job with the Kansas GOP and campaign. He also indicated work he'd done privately and said that he was a conservative, pro-life and Christian candidate. Gotts hinted that God brought him to Kansas.
"God had blessed us and brought us to an incredibly friendly state, which welcomes new residents and new businesses," Gotts wrote. "I thank the Lord for His guidance in bringing us to this wonderful place to start our lives together. Amen. "
The challenge to Gotts' residency is the latest twist in a bizarre series of political events. In addition to a bitter civil war between moderate and conservative Republicans, the state's legislative districts were upended by a federal judicial panel who took control of redistricting.
Rep. Jan Pauls (D-Hutchison), the state's leading anti-gay Democrat, was given permission to move into an abandoned church she owns in order to seek reelection in a friendly district. Pauls is being challenged in the Aug. 7 Democratic primary by Erich Bishop, the openly gay son for a former Ku Klux Klan member; the winner would face pro-choice, pro-gay Republican Dakota Bass, who headed a statewide Democratic group until recently. In addition, a Libertarian congressional candidate earlier this month legally changed his name to Thomas Jefferson to promote his campaign.