We sent our young intern, Sarah Mirk, to the Columbia City Theater last night to check out Linnea Noreen’s “convention.” The 29-year-old Noreen, running as an Independent, is holding a series of conventions this week to get the required 1,000 signatures so she can be on the November ballot against Seattle Congressman-for-life, Rep. Jim McDermott.
I met with Noreen last week, and while I was impressed with how serious she was about her doomed suicide mission (and relieved to meet someone who’s actually taking on McDermott), I wasn’t much impressed with her inchoate platform (check out the Slog post I did on it.) Although, I will say, her rap on the war was as smart as any of the half-baked solutions I’ve heard anybody propose.
Anyway, until Noreen’s campaign proves to be anything more than a goofy oddity, we’re siccing our ace intern on the “Linnea beat.”
Some highlights from Mirk’s report from Columbia City:
Noreen got 115 signatures, but there were only about 60 people in the room for her speech. (Everyone there seemed to be an acquaintance—mostly knowing Noreen from her recent stint as coordinator for Seattle Works, a non-profit that places young professionals on local boards and commissions.)
The food plate: Beer, cupcakes (excellent!), and hummus.
Asked about the recent cleavage controversy (exclusively reported here on Slog!), Noreen said: “If I’d known wearing a low-cut suit would have gotten me so much press, I would have worn something more scandalous.”
As for Noreen’s speech? It came off bland: “I don’t have to tell you how important [transportation issues] are, since we’re all stuck in traffic.” And much like a classroom presentation, her talk was complete with a lilting college twang: “What’s missing? is the federal funding? for these projects?”
She’s for universal health care coverage. She wants less federal bureaucracy in education. And on her banner issue, transportation, she said she wants a strong regional focus on public transit.
All-in-all not an impressive speech (and a bit awkward given that she appeared to be playing the part of political candidate in front of a room full of friends.)
However, Noreen was impressive and engaging 1 on 1, Mirk reports.
One of the big questions on Noreen is: How the hell does a 29-year-old afford to quit her job and run for office? We checked with the Federal Elections Commission, but since Noreen has only been running since April, she hasn’t filed finance reports yet—they’re due tomorrow. Here’s what she told us we’ll find when the reports go on-line. She has about 75 contributors (all friends and family) for a total of about $15,000. She says she’s already spent most of it, though. And judging from the stacks of glossy full-color fliers (and buttons, and stickers, and yard signs), it’s no wonder. Meanwhile, she says she took out a $50,000 loan, using the equity on her condo as collateral. She also says she’s been living frugally (or like a “geezer” she says) since she started planning to run last fall.
Noreen was in the 6th grade when McDermott was first elected to Congress in 1988. He has $267,000 on hand.