SARATOGA SPRINGS – City Republicans allege Democratic mayoral candidate Ron Kim isn’t fit to serve because he isn’t a full-time resident.
Pointing to past media reports in which Kim said his primary residence was in Queensbury, about a 30-minute drive north, the Saratoga Springs Republican Committee called Kim “a political weathervane” with a history of changing his residency to suit the office he feels like running for during a particular year.
In a statement, Saratoga Springs Republican Committee Chairman Chris Obstarczyk said Kim has a “demonstrated and lengthy documented pattern” of switching his voting preference address. “The facts, including Mr. Kim’s own words, demonstrate that he is a political weathervane. He has not abandoned his intention to to be a Queensbury resident. Saratogians deserve an actual full-time resident as mayor.”
The Republicans said they believe Queensbury has been Kim’s primary residence since at least 2018, and it cited media reports in which Kim said Queensbury was his primary residence during his failed bids for the 21st Congressional District seat, and for state Assemblyman.
Kim, a local attorney, voted in Warren County in 2018, 2019 and 2020, but has since changed his voting preference residence back to Saratoga Springs.
Republicans said Kim’s actions amounted to voter fraud, and it said the city deserved a full-time resident’s service.
Reached Tuesday, Kim insisted his primary residence is 9 Martin Ave. in Saratoga Springs.
He said he splits time between Saratoga and Queensbury, where he purchased a home from his father in 2008. He bought the home to protect a family asset as his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 15 years ago.
Kim said he divides time between the two communities to relieve his mother of caring for his father. He said the needs of his father, a Korean War veteran, increased during the pandemic.
“If they want to attack me for making the conscious choice of making sure that I can take care of my father in the last days he’s alive, that’s fine,” he asserted. “I’ll take that hit.”
Kim said he ran for the 21st Congressional District in 2018 because he said he felt it was his right to do so as an owner of two homes.
Kim said the run was partly because he saw a field of mostly inexperienced candidates challenging U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville.
He pointed out that his Saratoga Springs home is “literally two blocks” outside of the 21st Congressional District map.
He said he doesn’t understand why Republicans would object to a successful candidate who owns two homes.
Kim said he was speaking to a reporter from his home in Saratoga Springs, having just unpacked from his son’s wedding last weekend in Ohio.
He said he pays property taxes in Saratoga Springs, and the graduations of his three children from the local high school were proof enough that he primarily lives in the city.
The candidate implied that race might be a factor in the scrutiny from Republicans.
“Why is the Republican Party asking this of an Asian American?” he asked. “Is this just one of their tropes? Is this what we were going to talk about, instead of issues?”