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Smith aims for Congress in 2002

Norma Smith -
Norma Smith
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Mrs. Smith wants to go to Washington.

Less than a year after losing a race against Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, Clinton’s Norma Smith is back on the campaign trail. Only this time, the trail leads to Washington, D.C.

On Thursday, Smith, a Clinton resident, announced she will run as a Republican in 2002 as she tries to win the 2nd District seat held by Democrat Rep. Rick Larsen.

The job is something she knows well. Smith was an aide to former Republican Rep. Jack Metcalf during his three terms in the House from 1994 to 2000.

On Monday, Smith said her decision to run for national office stems from the encouragement of supporters and out of the events of Sept. 11.

She said she wants to put her knowledge of the inner workings of Congress to use as an elected member.

“This is what I feel I am supposed to do,” she said.

Currently the director of operations for Global SeaScape Venture Group, a company that develops business models for American companies looking to expand overseas, Smith said she is beginning her campaign work immediately. Her campaign manager, Afton Swift, begins work later this week, while she will shift to a part-time schedule at her job to give time to her congressional run. She said she will devote more and more time to the campaign as the election draws near.

Her early announcement — a year and five days before the 2002 election — will give her the time she needs to build support in the congressional district, she said. She already has one big endorsement from her former boss, Metcalf, and now wants the backing of the Republican Party.

That backing may come down to a footrace between her and Washington state Rep. Kelly Barlean. Also a South Whidbey resident, Barlean has expressed interest in running against Larsen, going so far as to file with the Federal Election Commission. He said Monday a formal announcement as to whether he will run for the congressional seat is still a few weeks away.

Smith’s last bid for public office was unsuccessful. In 2000 she failed to unseat Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano, in a race for the state Senate.

Smith lives in Clinton with her husband, Steve, a former Marine pilot who now flies emergency medical helicopters.

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