Democratic Socialist to Run Against Rep. Adam Smith in Nov. Election

Democratic Socialist to Run Against Rep. Adam Smith in Nov. Election

After coming up short in early results for Aug. 7 primary, Sarah Smith moves into second place

Sarah Smith, a 30-year-old Democratic socialist, will face off against 21-year incumbent Democrat Rep. Adam Smith in the November general election in Washington’s 9th Congressional District, which spans from southeast Seattle and Bellevue to Federal Way and Tacoma.

Early results in the Aug. 7 primary election gave Rep. Smith 50 percent of the vote, while Smith trailed Republican Doug Basler with 23.5 percent to his 26.2 percent. Conventional wisdom holds that ballots mailed in or filed in drop boxes trend liberal, and the notion held up in this race. By Aug. 10, Smith had overtaken Basler by about 2,600 votes, and her lead increased to almost 2,900 votes on Aug. 13. While the election results won’t be officially certified until next week, The Associated Press has called the race.

Sarah Smith, a former volunteer for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential bid, ran an insurgent campaign under the banner of the Brand New Congress Party—the same organization that backed Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ successful campaign in New York City against incumbent Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley. Her platform includes a federal jobs guarantee, universal Medicare, and slashing military spending. She criticized the 53-year-old Rep. Smith for taking sizeable contributions from the defense industry and voting for the Iraq War. Rep. Smith has countered that he has been a reliable progressive who has delivered tangible results for his district, such as being an early supporter of the $15 minimum-wage campaign in SeaTac.

Rep. Smith’s primary criticism of Sarah Smith so far has been that she technically doesn’t live in the district and moved there only recently, whereas he was born there. Sarah Smith, for her part, regularly points out that her house is blocks away from the district boundary in Kent, and that she used to live in the district before her landlord sold the home she was renting.

In a phone interview, Smith said that she felt “really really good” about her second-place finish. “The fact that we’ve come this far is a testament to how hard we’ve worked,” she said. “I’m very optimistic and very excited.”

Smith added that her campaign has received a surge of support and volunteer interest after the primary, and that their list of active volunteers has grown to 100. “We had a huge outpouring of support, especially from the activist community,” she said. “A lot of our problem [was] that we did not have as much attention as we would have liked before the primary, but now we do.”

There are still significant resource disparities between the two campaigns: Sarah Smith has raised only roughly $60,000 while Congressman Smith has a war chest of almost $600,000.

Rep. Smith, who had 48.48 percent of the vote as of Aug. 13, said that he’s not troubled by the prospect of facing Smith in the general election. “I got nearly twice as many votes as anyone else in the race,” he said. “The bottom line is that I am a very passionate, hardworking, effective legislator for the people of this district.”

“[Sarah Smith] managed to get all of the Bernie people to come out and squeak her through a top-two primary system,” he added.

Sarah Smith claimed that she won over a significant number of Republicans and Libertarians who responded positively to elements of her platform, such as slashing defense spending and the federal jobs guarantee.

“I’ve had Republicans message me and say I was the first Democrat that they’d voted for because I actually talked about issues,” she said. Smith added that she thinks she can win over some of the roughly 35,000 people who voted for Republican Doug Basler in the primary.

In contrast, Rep. Smith argued that partisan Republicans will stay home in November and that conservative voters will vote for him over lefty Smith. “Since she’s running as a Democratic socialist, I think I’m going to get Republicans and independents,” he said.

Smith called the congressman’s comments “insulting” and “dismissive.” “I think that Adam was very dismissive about Republicans [by] saying that they’re not going to vote … I really don’t care for his dismissive attitude of the voters in this district.”

She added: “We have the shoes and the [campaign literature] and the door knocking capabilities and we’re ready for November.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

Patti Cole-Tindall (Courtesy of King County)
Patti Cole-Tindall is officially confirmed as the new King County Sheriff

After serving as the interim sheriff since January, the King County Council… Continue reading

World War II veterans in Auburn, Wash. File photo
Washington ranks 7th among states for number of World War II veterans

12,364 WWII veterans are living in the state, with a total population of 517,912 military veterans.

Photo of promotional recruitment banner used by Auburn Police Department at Petpalooza. The banner features Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson, who is awaiting trial for the 2019 murder and assault of Jesse Sarey. Photo courtesy of Jeff Trimble
Auburn police use photo of embattled officer on recruitment banner

Families of people killed by Jeffrey Nelson, who’s awaiting trial for murder, speak out over use of his photo at Petpalooza.

T
Use your King County library card to explore the outdoors

KCLS cardholders can check out a Discover Pass for two weeks to explore public lands.

Monkeypox virus. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control.
King County identifies first presumptive monkeypox case

The illness is not as easily transmitted compared to COVID-19, according to health officer.

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Most Read