Recent developments in Virginia politics have brought significant attention to the state’s Senate dynamics. After the latest elections, the Democrats secured control of the Virginia State Senate with a narrow 21-19 majority.
However, this balance is now under threat due to a controversy involving Democratic Senator Ghazala Hashmi, the first-ever Indian-American and Muslim to be elected to the Virginia State legislation.
The core of the controversy lies in allegations against Sen. Hashmi, who reportedly won 62% of the vote in Virginia’s Senate District 15. It is alleged that she may have lied about her residency in multiple instances, according to the Daily Wire.
Residency requirements are a critical aspect of electoral eligibility, and any misinformation or false claims regarding this can lead to serious legal and political consequences. Senate candidates in Virginia must be residents of the district they seek to represent.
If proven true, these allegations could not only invalidate Hashmi’s electoral win but also potentially be classified as a felony, given that lying on election forms is a serious offense.
If Sen. Hashmi is found ineligible to hold office due to these allegations, a scenario could unfold where she is replaced by a Republican. This shift would result in an even 20-20 split in the state Senate. In such a case, Republican Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears would have the responsibility of casting tie-breaking votes, effectively giving Republicans a controlling influence in the Senate.
Ghazala Hashmi claimed she lived on Boulder Lake Drive in Noth Chesterfield on her candidate qualification statement filed in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
BREAKING: Virginia Democrats are about to lose control of the State Senate after BOMBSHELL evidence reveals candidate Ghazala Hashmi lied about residing in the district she won in
Four neighbors filed a complaint saying she actually lives outside the district, and they provided… pic.twitter.com/JEEeo6WIsU
— George (@BehizyTweets) November 12, 2023
Daily Wire reported:
Four neighbors filed a complaint saying she actually lives outside the district on Bosham Lane in Midlothian, and they provided a spreadsheet saying they had driven by the house 62 times during the month of October to document her residency. The notes include her car being there late at night and early in the morning, and her leaving the house shortly after 8 a.m. It also includes photographic evidence.
Putting Hashmi in a particular bind, if she did live in the Chesterfield apartment, then she may have committed a felony by concealing her ownership of the Midlothian home on sworn election forms.
The Certificate of Candidacy Qualification, which she signed March 14, 2023, says, “I now reside at the address shown below in the district in which I seek office,” under which she listed the North Chesterfield apartment.
The form also asks, “Do you or a member of your immediately family, separately or together, hold an interest valued at more than $5,000 in real property? DO NOT INCLUDE your principal residence.” She checked “no,” and did not list the Midlothian home. Real estate records show that she and her husband have owned that — worth nearly $600,000 — since 1999.
The form says “knowingly making any untrue statement or entry in this document is a felony under Virginia law. The punishment is a maximum fine of $2,500 and/or confinement for up to ten years. Also, you lose your right to vote.”
Hashmi’s opponent, Hayden Fisher, a Republican, is actively seeking to stop the certification of the election and have Hashmi disqualified, citing clear evidence of her residing outside the district and her failure to make a genuine effort to move into District 15.
“I plan to stop them from certifying the election. She’s disqualified, that means I ran unopposed as a matter of law,” Fisher told Daily Wire.
“There’s no question whatsoever that she does not live in that apartment,” he said. “She definitely clearly intentionally lied on that form. And she does not reside in the district so she should not represent it.”
“She made no genuine effort to actually move into the district, she just rented an apartment. Why don’t you just sell your house and move into the district? She just doesn’t even care. The arrogance is mind boggling.
“Even if you look only at the document itself, she’s claiming she lives in this apartment and she didn’t list that she owns a secondary residence, when it’s a matter of public record that she owns it. Number one, it’s a crime, number two, the board of elections should remove her.
“If she cares about democracy the way she and the Democrats claim they care about democracy, then she should voluntarily concede this election to me.
“She should prosecute this completely because it’s open and shut. Either she’s living in the apartment and she had to list the residence, or shes living in the residence and she lied about living [in] the apartment. Either way she’s lying and it’s not a small matter, it goes directly to her qualifications,” Fisher said.
Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District Republican Committee released the following press release:
A group of four voters from Chesterfield County has come forward to challenge and dispute the claim of residency made by Sen. Ghazala Hashmi, a candidate running to represent Senate District 15. According to Sen. Hashmi’s filing, she resides at 7306 Boulder Lake Dr, Apt. 2305, North Chesterfield, VA 23225, which is located within Senate District 15. However, the fellow voters assert that she actually lives at 2711 Bosham Ln, Midlothian, VA 23113, which is situated within Senate District 12.
This discrepancy raises genuine concerns, as it appears to be a clear violation of
§ 24.2-500 in the Code of Virginia. This section explicitly mandates candidates for State Senate to legally attest to their candidacy qualifications as a legal resident in the district they intend to represent.
The voters contend that Sen. Ghazala Hashmi’s violation of this statute disqualifies her from seeking or holding office as a representative of the citizens of Chesterfield County and the City of Richmond residing in Senate District 15.
“We are deeply troubled by the apparent discrepancy in Sen. Hashmi’s claimed residency and the actual address provided by fellow voters. The Code of Virginia makes it clear that a candidate must be a legal resident of the district they seek to represent. We believe that Sen. Hashmi’s failure to meet this requirement raises serious questions about her eligibility for office,” said one of the concerned voters.
The voters are urging a thorough investigation into the matter to ensure the integrity of the electoral process and the representation of the citizens of Chesterfield County and the City of Richmond.