Big late Washington endorsements boost Adam Smith, Shannon Hader in House race

By Joel Connelly, SeattlePI

Two big names in Northwest and national politics, ex-U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, have weighed in with last minute endorsements in Washington’s August 7 primary election.

The beneficiaries: U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., and 8th District U.S. House hopeful Dr. Shannon Hader.

Severely and permanently wounded in a December, 2010, mass shooting, while she held an outdoor town meeting in Tucson, Giffords along with her astronaut husband Capt. Mark Kelly have become crusaders for gun safety legislation.

Giffords is praising Smith, a former colleague on the House Armed Services Committee, for being a thorn in the side of the National Rifle Association and its allies.

“My dear friend Adam Smith has repeatedly stood up to the Gun Lobby in Congress, raised his voice to say now is the time to address America’s gun violence crisis and championed legislation to save lives,” said Giffords, in a statement also signed by Kelly.

Smith is facing a challenge from Sarah Smith (no relation), who is running against him from the left. She is attacking Congress for allocating “billions of dollars” for the military to fight “needless wars, bomb innocent civilians and steal from the mouths of our countrymen.”

Adam Smith is taking nothing for granted. He blew away a challenge from ex-State Rep. Jesse Wineburn two years ago, besting Wineberry by a four-to-one margin.

Hader is locked in a battle with two fellow Democrats, Dr. Kim Schrier and attorney Jason Rittereiser, for a spot on the November ballot.

The 8th District seat is up for grabs with the retirement of Republican Rep. Dave Reichert. The Republicans’ hopeful, three time statewide candidate Dino Rossi, probably has a lock on one finalist spot.

Hader came home to run after serving as a top manager of HIV/AIDS/TB programs at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has argued that the experience would give her instant influence if elected to Congress.

Jewell has put a stamp on the argument.

“She (Hader) will hit the ground running as a member of Washington’s congressional delegation,” said Jewell, “bringing real experience to achieve real outcomes at a time when we need to renew our commitment to public service and the values that shaped this nation.”

Jewell was formerly CEO at Recreational Equipment in Seattle. She is the first Northwest woman ever to serve in the president’s Cabinet.

Jewell has become an outspoken critic of land use and environmental policies of the Trump Administration.

SeattlePI.com columnist/blogger Joel Connelly can be reached at joelconnelly@seattlepi.com.