Campaign for N.E. Washington Senate seat turns bitter

SPOKANE — The race for a state Senate seat in the 7th District covering rural northeastern Washington has turned increasingly negative.

The contest features state Sen. John Smith and Brian Dansel, two Republicans in a district that hasn’t sent a Democrat to Olympia in 24 years. Supporters of each have told The Spokesman-Review they can’t remember a more negative campaign.

Smith was appointed in January to a seat that opened when longtime Sen. Bob Morton retired in the middle of his four-year term. He is among the most conservative members of the Republican caucus, and has attacked Dansel for his support from labor unions.

Dansel is a Ferry County commissioner who has criticized Smith for being slow to pay business taxes in recent years.

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