Residency questions surround House District 10 candidate

Tax records showed a web of different ownership and lease agreements, but the address passed the test to secure the nomination.
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 6:34 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2022 at 9:18 PM CDT
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MADISON CO., Ala. (WAFF) - Voters are heading to the polls soon to make their voices heard and there are a few questions about the residency of House District 10 candidate Dr. David Cole. One of the main questions is does Dr. Cole live outside of District 10 in Madison County?

Tax records showed a web of different ownership and lease agreements, but the address passed the test to secure the nomination.

Lease documents show Dr. Cole signed a rental agreement in Nov. 2021, just days before the filing deadline. Cole’s Democratic nominee and fellow competition, Marilyn Lands said, “I’m sure on paper that looks good. But I don’t really know what that means. And I haven’t had time to delve into that.”

Alabama Secretary of State, John Merrill did, and the address Dr. Cole provided passed the sniff test.

“The Alabama Republican Party certified Dr. Cole as a Republican candidate for the nomination for House District 10,” said Merrill.

That was based on an address the military veteran and physician used when he filed to run for office. It’s in District 10 on Conservancy Drive.

Tax records show that Cole resides at a home on Cedar Springs Place in Madison. Based on the new House District maps from 2020, that would put Cole’s house in District 4.

Records showed the owners of Conservancy Drive did not appear to own another home at the time. That means Dr. Cole would have moved his family of five into a home with another family, while their other home a few minutes down the road sat empty.

“I was disappointed and surprised to hear the news,” said Lands. “I think it speaks to character.”

Someone else who was disappointed in hearing the news was Dr. Cole’s campaign manager, David Driscoll. Driscoll thinks he knows where the residency question originated.

“I’ve done political campaigns for 30 years too. And there’s always the bomb that drops Wednesday or Thursday so I guess this is their bomb,” said Driscoll.

Political warfare aside, Dr. Cole’s campaign manager says they moved on from that rental on Conservancy Drive to another on Ashbury Woods Drive which is also in District 10.

The goal is to rent while they look for a home and eventually sell the home on Cedar Springs Place in District 4.

So, what happens if Dr. Cole wins and his residency issues are successfully challenged in circuit court?

“Then that position would be vacated if the judge orders that removal from the position,” said Secretary of State, John Merrill.

That means Cole could be sworn into office and then removed if a judge rules Dr. Cole isn’t a legal candidate based on residency issues.

WAFF reached out to Dr. Cole earlier today and has not heard back.