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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Suicide Mission (Continued)

Posted by on June 29 at 13:22 PM

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.

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She wants more of that regional transportation thing, huh? Hmmm. Guess I'll have to go with old First-Amendment Jim.

She wants more of that regional transportation thing? Hmmm. Guess I'll have to go with old First-Amendment Jim.

I'm actually kind of embarrassed for you Josh.

To go on record as being so firmly against the most liberal, most active and most intelligent member of congress seems like such a fool's errand that it makes me question your judgement on all things political.

And to support a total flake on top of it? What in the world is happening in your brain?

I'm gonna need to see more cleavage if she wants my vote.

Well, if this is the Noreen that I think it is, she was the Young Democrats rep to the 43rd District Exec Board, and also had been a Dem for a long time.

She's probably just being realistic, knowing that Jim will wrap up the Dem endorsements, but that she's a good fit for the Congressional District.

Think of Bernie Sanders, but with really awesome cleavage and a winning smile. Well, you know what I mean.

Will wrote:

"Think of Bernie Sanders, but with really awesome cleavage and a winning smile. Well, you know what I mean."

I think I just felt something burst. In my head.

So let me get this straight, a 29-year-old feels so strongly about these issues that she mortgages her home to do something about it, and you're talking about her cleavage and criticize her speech patterns? Shame, shame, Josh, and on the rest of you. I thought we'd gotten past this woman-bashing crap in our society.

I wouldn't put my house on the line, even though I don't like McDermott, and you gotta be impressed that she's putting it on the line like that.

I think her platform is pretty clear, too, because I just checked her website (your SLOG comments don't explain it) - are you sure your intern understands politics enough to report it accurately?.

McDermott is a sad excuse for a federal representative. He spends all his time fundraising for his legal defense or on junkets to africa.

Seattle needs a new representative in Congress and a challenger receiving, say 40% of the vote, might be the wakeup call to Jim that its time to move on. And with the the average age of representatives in the House approaching 55 - the oldest ever (yes, researched myself) why not support someone of our generation? especially someone who has spent so much of her adult life working for the causes of young people.

It would be nice if she'd started earlier. And throwing away your house to make a doomed run doesn't exactly make her look smart. But anything's better than Jimbo. I'll vote for her. I'm pretty sure I voted for my wife in the last primary against McDermott.

Dear Irritated Sistah,

Well, it seems Gurldoggie is mad at me for abandoning Jim McDermott and "supporting this total flake." And you're mad at me for not supporting her, and for writing about her cleavage (which I never did. Thomas Francis did, and it started a mini, silly, controversy in our comments thread.)

Yes, I trust our excellent intern. And, I interviewed Noreen myself prior to Columbia City, and I've gone to her web site. And my sense is exactly as I've said in two long posts now: Noreen's smart and serious, but needs to refine her rap. Right now it's vague and underwhelming.

Re: the cleavage "controversy"— Get a sense of humor "Sistah" ... Noreen's got one.

Dear random folks attacking Josh:

Your criticisms would carry far more weight if you'd attach you actual names and/or recognized handles to them. As it stands, it's just random, pointless, craigslist-style flaming from some random asshole.

Noting the irony,
A Dude

Why are we spending so much time here trying to qualify whether or not Ms. Noreen has the wherewithal to run against a seemingly permanent opponent, rather than asking whether or not Mr. McDermott deserves to keep his job? Elections are the performance review of incumbents just as much as a new job posting to challengers. Ms. Noreen is an articulate and passionate woman engaging in the debate about what is best for our district and instead of eyeing her with suspicion (or other such nonsense) we should be applauding her effort and listening to her fresh voice in this arena.

A question that just came to mind... give the top two primary law, would all Congressional candidates be listed on the primary ballot, or just the candidates for the two major parties?

If the former, then fine. But if the latter, wouldn't that shut out Linnea anyway?

As the insightful intern noticed, many of the people at Friday's event were already acquainted with Linnea. What was not said is that we were not just there to support our friend Linnea. We were there to support one of the most intelligent, passionate and capable individuals we know. Linnea knows how to lead and to listen, and cares passionately about the livability of our city and the health of our democracy. A candidate that can bring these traits to the table deserves to be on the ballot, and deserves a place as our Representative.

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I agree with the folks who think the intern is an idiot. I've seen Linnea speak and was very impressed not only with what she had to say but her presence. She captivated me and the room. As for her going the independent route because she doesn't think she can lock up the endorsement, you all need to listen to people before you start opening your mouths and looking like idiots yourselves. She's tired of the partisanship in Washington and wants to bring a fresh voice to the debate free of it.

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