Carpetbagging is a grand American political tradition, going back to the post-Civil War era when Northerners went South, carpet bags in hand, to take advantage of the unsettled conditions. Now, the unsettled conditions are in the great state of Illinois.

To the glee of the late-night TV comedy crowd, the Illinois Republican Party opted to reach far outside its borders to find a last-minute replacement candidate for a U.S. Senate seat. The lucky politician (or, more likely, the sacrificial lamb) was longtime Maryland resident Alan Keyes, loser of two Senate races in that state as well as two presidential bids. The fiery conservative commentator thus joins a long list of candidates who have found homes in new states or districts shortly before Election Day.

Residency rules vary, depending on the office and the jurisdiction. Many states -- including Illinois -- mandate only that a candidate be a resident by Election Day. (Hillary Rodham Clinton played it safe; she bought a house in New York a year before she had to face the voters in her 2000 bid for a Senate seat.)

Sometimes short-term residency is held against candidates, but voters often show a willingness to elect newcomers. In Florida, capital of relocated voters, the official handbook of state lawmakers actually lists the year they moved to the Sunshine State. Humor also can help a candidate defuse charges of carpetbagging: In 1982, when John McCain ran for a House seat in Arizona only a year after moving to that state, he defused his primary opponent's criticism by reminding voters of his most famous residence. "The longest place I ever lived was in Hanoi," he said, referring to his 61/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and his nomadic childhood as the son of a naval officer.

So as Keyes prepares to make his move to the Midwest, test your knowledge about some famous and not-so-famous candidates whose juggling of home addresses have earned them special places in the election history books.

Q. Who is the only politician to serve as governor of two states?

A.Sam Houston, who was governor of Tennessee from 1827 to 1829, then moved to Texas, where he became a war hero and was elected governor.

Which House member admitted that he never lived in the precinct where he voted during 41 years as an elected official?

The late U.S. Rep. Bob Stump (R-Ariz.). In 2001, Stump said he lived in Phoenix, 17 miles from a farm he listed as his voting address. The farm was within his congressional district but his Phoenix residence was outside the district. The U.S. Constitution does not require that members of Congress live in the district they represent. It requires only that they "be inhabitants" of the state in which they are elected.

Which lieutenant governor candidate was thrown off the ballot after a judge ruled he did not meet state residency requirements?

Hunter Bates, a Kentucky Republican. In 2003, then-U.S. Rep. Ernie Fletcher chose Bates, a former top aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell, as his running mate. The state constitution requires that candidates for governor and lieutenant governor be Kentucky citizens and residents for the six years before their election. A state judge ruled that while Bates was a Kentucky "citizen," he had not "inhabited" Kentucky for six years because he worked on Capitol Hill and lived in Virginia. Bates had argued that he remained a Kentucky resident because he had continued to vote and own property there.

What U.S. House member graduated from Yale Law School in spring of 1982, moved to Florida and won a House seat in the Florida legislature that same year?

Peter Deutsch, Democrat of Fort Lauderdale. The Bronx native is currently running for Senate in Florida.

Which vice presidential candidate had to change his voting address -- and technically his residency -- to make his candidacy constitutionally valid?

Dick Cheney. According to the 12th Amendment of the Constitution, a presidential and vice presidential candidate residing in the same state cannot both earn that state's electoral votes. In 2000, Gov. George W. Bush was a resident of Texas. So was Cheney, who had lived in the Dallas area since 1995. To prevent a constitutional crisis, Cheney switched his voting registration to his home state of Wyoming shortly before being chosen as the running mate for presidential candidate Bush.

International bonus question: Which American-born member of Australia's parliament had to pretend that he was not a native of the United States in order to serve in office during the 19th century?

King O'Malley, who lived from 1858 to 1953. While his political foes and many historians claim he was born in the United States, O'Malley insisted he was born in Canada but grew up in America. To stand as a candidate for parliament, he had to be a subject of the British empire. The law has since been changed, and two U.S.-born Australians now hold office.

Who is the only U.S. senator to represent three states?

Democrat James Shields, elected from Illinois in 1849 and Minnesota in 1858 and chosen to fill a vacant seat in Missouri in 1879. So if Keyes loses in Illinois, he'll have secured two-thirds of a losers' triple crown. His next move is clear: Missouri and bust in 2006.

Author's e-mail:

davemark2@hotmail.com

David Mark is editor in chief of Campaigns & Elections magazine, which covers the business and trends of politics.