34-year-old former federal lawyer to be third candidate for attorney general

July 7

The field of D.C. attorney general candidates has grown to three: Edward H. “Smitty” Smith II, a 34-year-old former federal lawyer, is seeking to get on the ballot for the newly elected office.

Smith joins lawyer-candidates Mark H. Tuohey and Paul Zukerberg, both of whom are at least two decades older and have at least that much more legal experience. But Smith, a D.C. native whose father was a Ballou High physics teacher and whose mother is a retired federal employee, said he’s up to the job after graduating Harvard Law School, working on the 2008 Obama presidential campaign and holding mid-level legal jobs in federal agencies.

“It’s not about how many years under your belt, but what have you done with those years?” Smith said Monday. “I don’t think about it as, can we get a lawyer with the longest history in practice? . . . One thing I’ve always learned in my career is there is very little that can substitute for new eyes and a new perspective.”

If elected, Smith said he would focus on the handling of juvenile justice cases.

Smith also said he disagreed with how the sitting attorney general, Irvin B. Nathan, handled recent litigation involving D.C. budget autonomy and a potential four-year delay of the first attorney genereal election.

But Smith said he did not see himself as being at frequent odds with the mayor or D.C. Council: “This is not an adversarial role; this is a cooperative role. There are some people concerned about an adversarial attorney general. . . . I don’t think that at all aligns with what the office should be about.”

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