Barbara Honegger, the former Justice Department aide who attacked the Reagan administration's commitment to women as a "sham," says she will enter politics, possibly as an independent, in a bid to unseat Rep. Frank Wolf or Sen. John Warner, both Virginia Republicans.
Honegger, a resident of Arlington whose ancestors on her mother's side are from Virginia and West Virginia, said in an interview this week she will run either in 1984 or 1986.
"I haven't decided these details. I've just decided that I'm going to run and that it's going to be in Virginia, because it's my home," said Honegger, who moved to Northern Virginia from California in 1980 after President Reagan's election.
She said that a book she is writing about the Reagan administration will be completed by Nov. 4, after which she will research the records of Wolf and Warner.
"I could run as an independent," said Honegger. "It's a possibility. It's a very good possibility. I would prefer to run as an independent, because I'm independent."
Honegger added that she still prefers the Republican Party to the Democratic Party because, "I really believe in free market economics."
Spokesmen for Wolf, whose congressional district includes Arlington, and for Warner both declined yesterday to comment on Honegger's statements.
Asked if she were intimidated about the prospect of a race against the well-known Warner, Honegger said, "Oh, no. I took on the president and won. So John Warner certainly doesn't intimidate me."
Honegger quit as director of a Justice Department program designed to identify sex bias in federal and state laws after an article she wrote criticizing Reagan's policies on women appeared in the opinion pages of The Washington Post on Aug. 21. One administration official labeled Honegger a "low-level munchkin."
Honegger acknowledged that the White House might try to thwart any political bid, but she added, "It won't make any difference. People will vote for the truth."
Asked if she thought she would get any Republican Party support, she noted that Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has offered to fund Republican women candidates for the Senate. A Lugar spokesman said that the senatorial committee will not fund challengers of Republican incumbents.
Honegger said her decision to run for Congress from Virginia was based largely on her instincts. "There's something you have to understand about me. I operate on instinct. I have an extremely keen and strong instinct. My instinct tells me I should run--and run from here Arlington ."
She said she was drawn to Virginia. "The turning points in American politics and history have always been in Virginia. The major battles of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War were in Virginia. The battlegrounds of the future in the country will be political. Historically, the center of change is Virginia. Real revolution stems in Virginia."
Honegger says she felt she was drawn to her Arlington house, which she chose randomly from a computer printout, and was likewise drawn to the church next door to her house. "At the first opportunity, I went to that church. On the first day at church . . . I looked at the minister. I felt like I'd known him all my life." She said she later discovered that her great-grandfather had encouraged the pastor to join the ministry.
Honegger said that in conjunction with her campaign, she will launch an advertising agency and that she will be the firm's first client.
"I have a way that for less than one-tenth of the price of television advertising, you can get higher visibility," said Honegger. She plans to call the group High Visibility Productions, a name she is currently registering, and what she called a "system" will be called "the space station." She refused to reveal further details, including what the "system" was, except to say that she has lined up engineers and companies that can put the system together.
Asked if waiting until 1986 could allow someone to steal her idea, she replied, "You have to understand, I have a very unusual mind. Nobody in the world will think of it."