The Maryland Republican Party has asked the state prosecutor's office to investigate whether Edward J. Kasemeyer, the Democratic candidate for state Senate in District 12, established residency in his district in time to run for office.
"It's our job to see that the Democrats are proceeding in elections in a fair manner," said Lance Copsey, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party. "It seems in this case there's enough evidence to question whether Ed Kasemeyer is able to serve."
David P. Maier, Mr. Kasemeyer's Republican opponent in District 12, earlier had raised as a top issue in his campaign the Democrat's short residency in the district and his commitment to its residents. District 12 includes west Columbia, Elkridge and southwestern Baltimore County.
Volunteers active in Mr. Maier's campaign raised the issue with the state Republican Party, Mr. Copsey said.
Last night, Mr. Kasemeyer ardently defended his residency.
"My residence is aboveboard," he said. "I welcome anyone looking into the situation. I'd like to get it over with, the innuendo and the distortion [Mr. Maier] has created. I'd like to get it resolved."
He said the Republican Party's claim "has no basis whatsoever. . . . I'll have no problem substantiating I've been here since the first week of March."
Mr. Kasemeyer represented western Howard County and west Columbia in the General Assembly while living in West Friendship from 1983 to 1990, when he lost his seat to Republican Sen. Christopher J. McCabe. West Columbia was shifted from District 14 to District 12 under the 1992 state redistricting plan.
In a letter sent yesterday to State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli, the Republican Party says that Mr. Kasemeyer changed his voter registration card from a West Friendship address in District 14 to his Columbia address in District 12 on May 6 -- six months and two days before the Nov. 8 general election.
State election laws require that a candidate for the state Senate be a resident of the district at least six months prior to the general election.
In its complaint to the state, the Republican Party notes severa documents that it says cast doubt on Mr. Kasemeyer's residency over the last six months:
* Mr. Kasemeyer's campaign finance reports show he reimbursed himself for expenses three times in June and July, listing his West Friendship address.
* Mr. Kasemeyer changed the address on his driver's license from West Friendship to Columbia on Aug. 9. A Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration spokeswoman said the agency requires licensees to change their address within 30 days of moving but added that the license is not clear-cut proof of residency.
* Mr. Kasemeyer's tax bill for his Columbia residence is mailed to the West Friendship address.
Mr. Kasemeyer said he has been separated from his wife for more than three years and moved out of his West Friendship house in 1990. He lived in a Severna Park house until December 1992, when he moved to Ellicott City, he said.
He said he moved in March from Ellicott City -- where he lived with friends -- to his vacant Columbia condominium, a move he said was necessitated by his decision to run for governor, since the location afforded greater privacy.
Mr. Kasemeyer abandoned his bid for governor on May 10, announcing instead that he was running for state Senate.
The Republican Party has requested a "rapid response" from Mr. Montanarelli because the election is less than three weeks away.
Mr. Montanarelli said his office, which enforces state election laws, usually would try to determine residency by checking phone and utility services, lease or purchase contracts and other forms of verification.
Mr. Maier did not return phone calls yesterday.