Princella Smith for AR-1

Smith first made news when she won a speech contest put on by MTV, which won her a primetime speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention. From there, she has gone to work for, among others, Newt Gingrich at American Solutions and most recently was Rep. Joseph Cao’s communications director.

AR-1, despite being R+8 according to Charlie Cook’s ratings, has not been represented by a Republican since 1875. But incumbent Marion Berry already announced his retirement. That, combined with how the district votes in presidential elections, would seem to make this a great pick-up opportunity.

From a profile piece after she took the job in Cao’s office: “We can’t just ride in there with a partisan flag and wave it. So this is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done,” Smith says. “The hype of, ‘Let us all fashion a special message for African-Americans’ in some ways could be insulting because they just want to know, ‘How are you going to make my community better?’”

Please take a look at Smith’s website and the Politico profile is a good read.