The campaign for the new 9th Congressional District is coming to Mercer Island this Tuesday, Feb. 21 with the appearance of incumbent Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) at a "Town Hall" in the Mercer Island Community and Events Center.
Rep. Smith is seeking a ninth-term in office by representing essentially a new congressional district, redrawn earlier this year by the State Redistricting Commission, which now includes Mercer Island and Bellevue.
Campaign spokesperson Stacie Anderson said the event will be both a chance to meet with the Tacoma congressman and ask questions, while Rep. Smith courts local voters and lays out his plans for the 113th Congress.
"(We're) encouraging people to come and get to know the congressman, ask questions, find out what's going on in Washington, D.C and talk about community issues," Anderson said.
The town hall-style meeting will be held in the Mercer Room from 6 - 7:30 p.m.
According to the demographic information on the Washington State Redistricting Commission website, Bellevue and Mercer Island would be in the proposed 9th Congressional district, which would be the most racially diverse in the state, with slightly more than half of residents being nonwhite. Perhaps recognizing the change in the district's constituency, Smith joined the congressional Asian-American Caucus last week. More than 150,000 residents in the new district are of Asian decent, according to the Seattle Times (About 16 percent of Mercer Island's residents are of Asian decent).
Mercer Island is currently represented in Congress by Rep. Dave Reichert as part of the 8th Congressional District, but redistricting moved Mercer Island and Bellevue into the 9th District for the November 2012 General Election. The new districts were formally adopted by the State Legislature on Feb. 1, and Mercer Island's transition to the 9th District will be complete when the 113th U.S. Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3, 2013.
Smith's only declared challenger in the congressional race is Parkland Republican Jim Postma. Seattle City Councilman Bruce Harrell, a Democrat, has also indicated he is interested in the seat but hasn't officially announced his intention to enter the race. The filing deadline for the ballot is May 18, 2012.
Rep. Smith's campaign isn't the only political gathering at the community center that evening seeking grassroots support — the 41st District Republicans are also scheduled to hold a meeting just down the hall featuring newly-elected Sammamish City Councilman Ramiro Valderrama.
According to local Republicans on the 41st District website, Valderrama will speak on the importance of grassroots activity.