Sarah Smith

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Sarah Smith is a Washington activist, and Democratic Socialists of America member.[1]

Radical family

Sarah Smith told Shadowproof:[2]

I was involved in protests for the Iraq War when I was in high school, sit-ins, walkouts, all that stuff. My family’s very politically aware. We’re all very progressive so we have very boring holiday dinner arguments. I do a lot of volunteer work, but I was never someone that expected to go into politics. That was the biggest thing. Because it always seems like that huge unattainable thing that normal people could never do.[3]

An Anti-War Candidate

Washington U.S. House, 9th District.

Washington’s 9th, which includes parts of Seattle, distills much of what progressives deplore about the Democratic establishment. Residents voted against Donald Trump by 47 points, making it one of the nation’s bluest districts. But the incumbent, Adam Smith, is among the most conservative Democrats in Congress, according to Progressive Punch, a vote-tracking site. Military contractors like Northrop Grumman are among his biggest contributors. The state’s Democratic Party has gone out of its way to deny the challenger, Sarah Smith, 30, access to its voter information data, thus tilting the race toward the incumbent.

Adam Smith, who has been in office since 1997, seems to be feeling the heat. He has the 49th most progressive record in the House in 2017-18, versus a lifetime rank of 173 out of the 192 Democrats currently serving. Unseating him is a long shot, but Sarah Smith takes the long view. “This is a marathon,” she said in a recent podcast. “This is going to be a building, large-scale movement.”

Sarah Smith is putting an anti-war, anti-imperialist message front and center. She connects it to Adam Smith’s hawkish voting record and the corrupting influence of corporate PAC money, which she says she’ll reject. She promises to help end “legally protected bribery” and supports legislation to create publicly financed elections.

Endorsed by Brand New Congress, Olympia Democratic Socialists of America, Justice Democrats, Our Revolution.[4]

The People's Revolutionary meet and greet

Seatttle People's Party - Black Zia Cantina Burien Washington August 18 2018.

This event is for political networking and having a good time celebrating progressive wins around the country with fellow progressives/leftists/comrades and discussing how we can do better in the future. We have a few speakers and performers. The performers are entertaining us on a saturday evening so we ask for a suggested donation of $27 of which 100% will go to the performers.
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Speakers: Kshama Sawant, Sarah Smith, Georgia Davenport, Robert Satiacum, Nikkita Oliver, Krystal Marx.

Organized by comrades Amber Wood, Georgia Davenport Glen Casebeer, Supreet Kaur, Tania Singh,

Seattle DSA endorsement

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Seattle Democratic Socialists of America endorsed Sarah Smith September 4.

Radical staffer

Supreet Kaur was Political and Field Director at Sarah Smith.

Justice Democrats

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Sarah Smith was endorsed by Justice Democrats for 2018.

Campaign

Sarah Smith, a 30-year-old democratic socialist candidate is running against 21-year incumbent Rep. Adam Smith to be the Democratic nominee for Washington’s 9th Congressional District—which spans from Seattle and Bellevue to North Tacoma. “It’s not just that ‘Any blue will do’ anymore because we’re in an era of change and upheaval,” she told Seattle Weekly. “I don’t want the Democratic Party to die out. I want them to survive, but I want them to be the party of the people.”

Smith—a registered Democrat, former volunteer for the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, and current employee at a car mechanic shop in downtown Renton—is banking that voters in the 9th have a similar appetite for a young progressive insurgent like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She’s similarly calling for Medicare for All, abolishing the controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), and a federal jobs guarantee.

The primary component of her platform, however, is getting corporate money out of politics through policy reforms such as banning lobbyists from making donations to political candidates. “At the end of the day, campaign finance reform and how we allow money into our political system has to be our top priority,” Smith says. “Until we pry those fingers off, we’re not going to be able to get these things passed and get things done.”

Despite comments from some prominent national Democrats after Ocasio-Cortez’s win that her message could work only in deep-blue, diverse urban areas like New York, Smith claims insurgent progressive candidates are ascendant nationally.“It’s really foolhardy to think that this is a one-off incident in New York. It’s not,” she says. “This is the next generation of Democrats.”

While she’s never run for office before, Smith has help from organized progressive activists. Toward the end of the bitter 2016 Democratic presidential primary, former staff and volunteers from the Sanders campaign launched Brand New Congress, an organization intent on recruiting House and Senate candidates to run on progressive policy platforms without corporate financing. The organization has pushed candidates in a slew of states ranging from Texas to New Hampshire. And Smith isn’t the only Brand New Congress-affiliated candidate running in the state of Washington, as Iraq war veteran Dorothy Gasque is vying for the 3rd congressional in Southwest Washington.

“Our candidates don’t accept corporate PAC money, they all sign on to the same policies, they help to develop the platform together,” Zeynab Day, deputy communications director of Brand New Congress, told Seattle Weekly. “They serve as a pre-formed caucus of sorts that we are hoping to go to D.C. with.”

In April 2017, Smith attended a Brand New Congress workshop on the nuts and bolts of running congressional campaigns in Knoxville, Tenn. alongside Ocasio-Cortez and other prospective candidates. She officially launched her campaign on her 29th birthday in May 2017.

Her campaign now has a team of 36 field volunteers helping her canvas the 9th District, numbers that were boosted with a surge in interest after Ocasio-Cortez’s win in late June. They’ve knocked on roughly 13,000 doors so far, according to Smith. Additionally, Brand New Congress is sending some staffers and volunteers to the 9th District in late July to assist the campaign prior to the August primary.

Daniel Shull, a 29-year-old volunteer who has been with Smith’s campaign for a year, feels that progressive activists have been responding positively to their campaign. “People are more interested in being inspired than they are in being reminded of whose team they’re on at this point.”

Other campaign volunteers include Supreet Kaur and Fern Zimmerman.

With a platform that appeals to the left wing of the Democratic base, she’s received endorsements from organizations like Olympia Democratic Socialists of America, the Justice Democrats, and the Washington Berniecrats Coalition. Keaton Slansky, a co-chair of the Seattle Democratic Socialists of America chapter, told Seattle Weekly that while his branch—which boasts around 600 dues-paying members—still needs to go through their internal endorsement process, he thinks it’s likely that they’ll vote to throw their support behind her.

But whether this theory will result in electoral victory is another story. The District’s incumbent, Rep. Adam Smith, is a formidable opponent. First elected in 1997, Rep. Smith has won his recent re-election campaigns by massive margins. He has the endorsements of most local Democratic organizations, several labor unions, and Washington Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, as well as Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. Rep. Smith also boasts a massive campaign war chest of more than $420,000, which dwarfs Sarah’s $36,000.[5]

Shaun King endorsement

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References

  1. [https://shadowproof.com/2018/08/19/interview-congressional-candidate-sarah-smith-wa-9th-district/ INTERVIEW WITH SARAH SMITH, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE IN WASHINGTON’S 9TH DISTRICT 19 AUG 2018]
  2. [https://shadowproof.com/2018/08/19/interview-congressional-candidate-sarah-smith-wa-9th-district/ INTERVIEW WITH SARAH SMITH, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE IN WASHINGTON’S 9TH DISTRICT 19 AUG 2018]
  3. [https://shadowproof.com/2018/08/19/interview-congressional-candidate-sarah-smith-wa-9th-district/ INTERVIEW WITH SARAH SMITH, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE IN WASHINGTON’S 9TH DISTRICT 19 AUG 2018]
  4. [1]
  5. [2]