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Rep. Smith accuses Democrats of spreading falsehoods

Rep. Norma Smith called on her opponent to condemn and rebuke the smear campaign of false ads being waged by his supporters.

Democratic challenger Tim Knue responded by doing just that, condemning the ad campaign in clear terms.

Smith and Knue are competing for Position 1 in the 10th District state legislative race.

Smith, a Republican from Clinton, is concerned about the continuing barrage of fliers appearing in voters’ mailboxes that she said were filled with falsehoods and half-truths.

“The stuff keeps coming in,” she said Thursday. “This really puts me over the edge, especially the one accusing me of cutting off healthcare benefits to women.”

The ad in question resembles a billing notice from a fictional “Norma Smith Insurance” company. The copy tells voters their coverage has been denied for certain procedures, including mammogram screening, maternity care, cancer screening and pre-natal care.

The fake bill is signed, “Norma Smith, President.”

The ads were sent under the auspices of Seattle-based Citizens for Change, whose primary financial support comes from the Harry Truman Fund, which has donated a total of $165,000 in October, according to the Public Disclosure Commission. The fund has historical ties with the Democratic Party.

“Do you think I would for a minute deny people these coverages?” she asked. “I am disappointed and frustrated that my opponent has chose to align himself with the worst of what politics has to offer.”

Smith said she made a commitment to treat the voters with respect and dignity, and is frustrated by the flagrant disregard and twisting of facts. It is wrong to use fear-mongering and smear tactics to try to deceive voters, she said.

“We need to restore people’s faith in the process, and these attacks are not the way to go about it,” she said. “Let’s debate the issues, not frighten people.”

On Friday morning, Knue said he was also disturbed by the tenor of the attack ads. “We’ve worked hard to keep the campaign clean,” he said.

“I condemn these ads. There’s a lack of politeness and tact involved when you try to dishonor another person.”

“This was way out of my control,” he said. “After I win this election and get up higher in the political food chain, I plan to guarantee this kind of thing never happens again.”

Knue wasn't the only Democrat upset at mailed missives this week.

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, a Democrat running for reelection in the 10th District against Oak Harbor Republican Linda Haddon, decried a flier put out by Democrats that compared Haddon to President George Bush.

Haugen has prided herself on never running a negative campaign. She said the piece was prepared by "my so-called Democratic friends."

"I'm just appalled," Haugen said. "I cannot tell you how angry I am."

Haugen called the flier "stupid" and "a waste of money." It was sent out by Better Future for Washington, a recently formed Seattle-based political action committee that's received $250,000 from the Roosevelt Fund.

"I'm mad as hell. I am livid," Haugen said. "I apologize for the stupidity of my so-callled leadership."

Though she has been criticized in repeated fliers backed by Republican money, Haugen said it was no excuse for the mailer.

"Two wrongs don't make a right. I am so ashamed," she said.

Record writer Brian Kelly contributed to this report.

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