Mailer calls Haugen ‘taxaholic’; Smith says she didn’t do it

"It appears that even local “clean” campaigns are getting nasty this election season.Norma Smith, Republican challenger to 10th District incumbent Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, says she had nothing to do with a mailing sent out Thursday that attacks Haugen as a tax-happy politician.“My name is Mary-Margaret Haugen. I’m a tax-aholic,” the flier says on its cover. On the inside it reads, “It seems that Mary-Margaret Haugen is addicted to property taxes. ... Despite the heavy property tax burden all of us face here in the 10th District, Mary-Margaret Haugen seems to turn a cold shoulder to seniors and other on fixed incomes hurt by high property taxes.”Smith, a Clinton resident and congressional aide to Rep. Jack Metcalf, has made clean campaigning one of the main points of her race, and even signed a clean campaign “pledge” that vows no personal attacks. Haugen’s campaign manager Laura Lewis called the flier a “hit piece,” and was quick to seize on it as an example of Smith’s hypocrisy.“We are disappointed, but not surprised,” Lewis said. “Campaign pledges are easily signed, but the real mettle of campaigners is in following through.”Smith said the mailer calling Haugen a “tax-aholic” was sent out by the Washington State Republican Party without her knowledge. “I find that this mailing by the state Republican Party is in conflict with the standards I’ve pledged to uphold in my campaign, and I denounce their actions,” she said in a press release sent out Thursday.Lewis said Haugen has never resorted to negative campaigning, and the state Democratic Party has agreed to refrain from any negative campaigning on Haugen’s behalf.Republicans involved in races for the state Legislature dispute this. Barry Sehlin, Republican challenger to Rep. Dave Anderson, accuses the Democrats of conducting telephone “push polls” that smear Republican candidates. He alleges that this polling technique has been used to support Anderson, Haugen and John McCoy, the Democratic challenger to Rep. Kelly Barlean.The state Democratic Party denies funding any push polls. "

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