BOSTON -- A state commission ruled Tuesday that Republican Mitt Romney is eligible to run for governor, unanimously rejecting a challenge by Democrats who contended the 55-year-old venture capitalist gave up his Massachusetts residency while directing the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
The state ballot commission accepted Romney's argument that he was not responsible for errors made by his accountant on tax returns, declaring he fulfilled a requirement in the state constitution that candidates for governor must reside in Massachusetts for at least seven consecutive years.
In a dispute that for weeks pushed issues such as education and tax reform to the sidelines, Democrats contended that Romney gave up his status as a Massachusetts resident when he listed Utah as his primary residence for two years while organizing the 2002 Games. Romney countered that while residing in Utah, he continued to vote in Massachusetts, and maintain the home he owned for 30 years in Belmont, outside Boston.
The controversy centered on a $54,000 tax break Romney received by listing his Deer Valley, Utah, home as his primary residence. Romney at first said the tax bill had gone to his wife, and later blamed a clerical error in Utah for incorrectly categorizing his home.
He also said his accounting firm, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, had mistakenly listed him as a part-year Massachusetts resident in 1999 and as a nonresident in 2000.
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