UPDATED: It turns out that Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas doesn’t live in the state he represents.
The Republican acknowledged to the New York Times on Friday that he lists a home in Dodge City, Kan., when he needs to disclose a home address. The home actually belongs to two donors, C. Duane and Phyllis Ross. Roberts, 77, said he stays at the home when he’s in the area but that he and his wife live in Alexandria, Va.
“I have full access to the recliner,” Roberts said of the Kansas home. The veteran lawmaker insisted he knew his state’s residents better than anyone.
“I’ve been to every county in Kansas more than anybody else,” he told the newspaper. “Senators have a tendency to get involved in their committees and important works. You get involved in that, and you’re not out there touring 105 counties like I am. We get out.”
Roberts’ office later pushed back hard against the Times report and called it a “hit piece.”
“Senator Roberts long has owned a home in Dodge City,” spokesperson Sarah Little said in a statement. According to Little, the Republican senator pays rent to the Ross family, and the separate home he owns is currently being rented out to tenants.
“Fortunately, this story is so far from reality that Kansans won’t believe it,” Little said.
Roberts –who began serving in the House in 1981– is facing a primary challenge on Aug. 5 from Tea Party activist Milton Wolf.
Wolf (who’s a second cousin, once removed, of President Obama) was seen as a longshot opponent of Roberts. It is yet to be seen how and if the revelations of Roberts’ non-existent home affects the race.