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Veteran Murray and newcomer Smiley battle to represent Washington in Senate

A photo of a woman with short white hair and glasses next to a photo of a younger woman with blonde hair speaking into a microphone.
Jacquelyn Martin, Ted Warren
/
AP
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., left, faces challenger Republican Tiffany Smiley in the November election.

Follow KNKX’s Election 2022 live blog for more election updates.

Republican Tiffany Smiley is seeking to oust U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, a Democratic stalwart who has gone from the upstart “mom in tennis” shoes to one of her party's most powerful officeholders in her nearly 30 years in the Senate.

Smiley has repeatedly attacked Murray's tenure and stature in the Senate during the campaign as the pair argued over abortion, crime and inflation during the run-up to Tuesday's election.

“She is the image of big government,” said Smiley, who is making her first run for public office. “You are not the mom in tennis shoes anymore.”

Murray won her first campaign for the Senate in 1992, a suburban parent motivated to run in part by the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas. She and others felt the senators treated Anita Hill, who had accused Thomas of sexual harassment, unfairly.

Murray has again made women’s rights a signature of her campaign.

The Democrat, who is seeking a sixth term, said in this election: “Women’s rights are on the ballot. Our democracy is on the ballot and our economy is on the ballot.”

Murray says Smiley would be a vote for a nationwide ban on abortion. Smiley has countered that while she is pro-life, she opposes a nationwide ban. She said the issue should be left up to the residents of each state following the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Smiley has said the state has a “crime crisis,” and that Murray has been absent on the issue. Murray has said crime is a local, state and federal issue and pointed to the easy availability of guns as one reason.

Murray, 71, also tried to tie Smiley to former President Donald Trump and his MAGA supporters, saying the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, was something voters should not forget.

Smiley, 41, has criticized Murray as a do-nothing senator and blamed her for crime and other social ills.

A native of Pasco, Washington, Smiley has tried to connect with voters by focusing on her personal story. She’s a former nurse who has highlighted her past advocacy for her husband, a military veteran who was blinded in an explosion while serving in Iraq in 2005.

Murray had raised more than $17.8 million as of the September reporting deadline. Smiley had raised more than $12.8 million — far more than other recent GOP Senate challengers in Washington state.

Washington hasn’t elected a Republican to the Senate since 1994.

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