Questions arise about Republican candidate’s residency


Above is the vehicle that was being driven by Don Quinn earlier this week for his attendance at a Severna Park Republican Women’s Club meeting. Note the Washington state license plate.

Quinn filed to run for State Senate in District 30 on January 8, 2014. Quinn is facing Eric Knowles in a primary with the winning going on to face incumbent Senator John Astle.

Quinn also just registered to vote on January 8. Quinn appears to still be registered to vote in King County, Washington with an inactive status. State records in Washington indicate that after 2005 he voted in just two elections there (2008 and 2010 general elections.) He was blogging about politics as late as October 2012 out there.

J. Doug Gill raised some of the issues surrounding Quinn’s residency earlier this week on Facebook. In response, Quinn responded in the comments and said his children had been in school in the district for two years – which doesn’t say anything about his residency.

Maryland’s voter registration form only says you must be a Maryland resident and must have a Maryland driver’s license to register to vote.

Here’s what the MVA says about vehicle registration for new residents:

As a new resident of Maryland you must register your vehicle within 60 days of moving to Maryland. If you delay beyond 60 days, you will not be eligible for a tax credit for any titling tax paid in another state, and you may be subject to a citation for an out of state registration.

Quinn  was living in Maryland over 60 days ago based on the lawsuit filed against him in 2013. He had to have a Maryland driver’s license before January 8 at the latest. He is apparently violating at least the spirit of the law for new resident vehicle registration if he was living here in 2013 (or earlier?) without changing his registration.

Maryland law requires state senate candidates to live in the district for six months and I’ve heard varying versions of whether that is counting backwards from the date of the general election or primary. I’m sure someone can clarify that for me. According to Gill’s comments (and apparently not refuted by Quinn), Quinn didn’t live in District 30 until September. He was the defendant in a lawsuit filed last year (later dismissed) that had him living at an Edgewater address not in District 30. Looking at property records for that house, it appears to be a rental property. The Annapolis address he used for his voter registration and filing for office earlier in January is the primary residence of a family not named Quinn. If Quinn is renting from the owners, then they need to update their tax information to indicate they aren’t eligible for a homestead exemption on that property anymore. There are other situations possible there that would cast Quinn in a bad light, but for now I’ll just assume a mistake by the property owners. The property owners there are registered to vote at that address and have been since 1996. According to online property records in King County, Washington, Quinn still owns a residence in Auburn, Washington.  

Quinn appeared on Red Maryland Radio Thursday night and at the very least discussed the license plate issue from what I’ve heard. I was out at a meeting that ran late and haven’t had a chance to listen in yet but I will do so and write any relevant followup to this post.

At the very least, Quinn is guilty of bad optics and is leaving himself open to charges of being a carpetbagger who just moved to the district after living in another district for a year or more. The license plate issue is one he should have taken care of before he even filed for office for the optics alone. The most damning thing of all I’ve written is that he didn’t even register to vote until the same day he was filing to run for office.

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in Columbia, SC and Washington, DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Quinton