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House Candidate Still Lobbying Congress

In an election cycle that has most everyone running away from lobbyists, Arizona Republican Susan Bitter Smith is something of a novelty: She’s running for Congress while also lobbying it.

On May 12, Bitter Smith officially announced that she would run in the Republican primary for the seat currently held by Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.). On the same day, she sent an e-mail to the office of Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) in which she attempted to arrange a meeting with the Congressman on behalf of the Arizona-New Mexico Cable Communications Association.

“My job is to set up those meetings,” Bitter Smith said.

Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said she has never heard of a candidate actively lobbying “who wasn’t a local elected official who was lobbying as part of their job,” she said. “I think in this environment it would make for a pretty good ad by her opponent.”

Bitter Smith, however, said the field in the Fifth District Republican primary is “crowded with lobbyists.” GOP candidate Jim Ogsbury also has the L-word in his past: He was a registered federal lobbyist in 2000 and 2001, and his official campaign bio notes that he has “advanced numerous infrastructure improvements in our state” and “represented the Arizona chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Vanguard Health Systems, and other public and private entities.”
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