Smith barnstorms for Senate

Marianne Smith can fly. Arriving at Chico’s Ranchaero Airport on June 11 in her personal Cessna Sky Hawk, co-piloted by husband Brian, she was greeted by a button-wearing, sign-holding, enthusiastic crowd of supporters.

Smith, who is a Democrat and viewed as an underdog to Republican Sam Aanestad in the race for the District 4 state Senate seat, blitzed through 12 counties and 24 airports in a mostly nonstop campaign to reach out to voters and acquaint herself with the largest district in the state.

“We want to show people that one thing I can do, as a representative, is I can be everywhere,” said Smith, who formerly campaigned with the surname Bopp-Smith but has dropped the Bopp because it was distracting. “I can reach out to people. I can listen to their concerns.”

Smith, who was suffering from the flu, had never flown so much, nor made so many stops, in a single day. “I think the next time I travel around to all these places, I want to travel around in an RV,” Smith said. Added her husband: “There’s really a lot that people want to talk about, so we’ll go everywhere, slower.”

Former congressional candidate Roberts Braden arrived early to show his support. "She’s a dynamite candidate," Braden said. "She’s smart. You name the issue and she’s right on it."