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Political press puts Adam Smith on short list of candidates for defense secretary

Two national political publications are floating U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Bellevue) as a possible candidate to succeed Chuck Hagel as U.S. secretary of defense.

Smith, whose district used to include Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is heading into his 10th term in Congress and is the ranking minority member on the House Armed Services Committee.

Politico and The Hill, two publications that cater to political insiders, each named Smith as one of the Obama administration’s candidates to replace Hagel.

Other names floated by the publications include Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

During the Obama administration, Smith has backed the president’s plans to draw down forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, cut defense spending and keep large ground forces away from the front lines of fighting against Islamic State militants.

He voted against the Budget Control Act of 2011, a bill that laid the groundwork for the forced spending cuts known as sequestration that could cost the Pentagon almost $500 billion over a decade.

He favors trimming Pentagon spending, but not in the arbitrary manner mandated by sequestration.

Outgoing House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), told Politico that Smith would be a good candidate to lead the Pentagon, but McKeon said he wasn’t sure that Smith was interested.

Smith on Monday released a statement thanking Hagel for the defense secretary’s two years at the Pentagon.

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