In Washington Senate race, Republican Smiley eyes upset of incumbent Patty Murray

Recent developments have contributed to notion that Republican challenger has an outside shot of sending five-term “mom in tennis shoes” packing from Senate.

Published: October 14, 2022 8:31pm

Updated: October 15, 2022 11:13pm

(The Center Square) -

With the Nov. 8 general election less than a month away, the Tiffany Smiley campaign is doing everything in its power to pull off an upset against longtime U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Bothell.

Recent developments have contributed to the notion that the Republican challenger has an outside shot of sending the five-term “mom in tennis shoes” packing from the U.S. Senate.

Those developments include the Smiley campaign announcing $6 million raised during the third quarter of 2022, the endorsement of the Washington State Fraternal Order of Police, and the release of a series of advertisements featuring former Murray voters explaining why they will be casting their ballots for Smiley.

At least one venerable political commentator and author doesn’t completely discount the idea that Smiley could, despite the conventional wisdom, end up denying Murray a sixth Senate term.

If a Friday column in the Washington Post, George Will – referring to Democrat-dominated Washington as an “indigo” state – hints at the possibility of a Smiley victory based on voter fatigue with Murray and general dissatisfaction with the current state of the state and the nation.

“Smiley’s closing argument to Washingtonians will be: If you like the country’s current trajectory, vote for the other woman,” Will writes. “If not … Smiley’s campaign says its internal polling resembles the September Trafalgar poll: Murray 48.7, Smiley 46.5.”

Other polls have consistently shown Murray with a more substantial lead over Smiley.

Of course, voters will have the final say in a few weeks.

“Not invariably, but more than rarely, one senatorial election in a cycle produces a ‘who-saw-that coming?’ reaction from people who forgot to look far and wide,” Will concludes. “This year, it could be here.”

The Smiley campaign certainly thinks so.

“Mr. Will recognizes what we on this campaign have known for quite a while – this is a winnable race with a clear path to victory,” Elisa Carlson, communications director for the Smiley campaign, told The Center Square in an email. “Tiffany is working hard every day to connect with voters and make sure her message of hope and recovery reaches Washingtonians. Her message is resonating and we have no doubt that on November 8th Washington will choose hope over the status quo.”

The Center Square reached out to the Murray campaign for a comment on Will’s column, but received no response.

Murray was first elected to the Senate in 1992.

Smiley, a former triage nurse, is a mother of three who has highlighted her advocacy for her husband, Scotty, a military veteran who was blinded in an explosion while serving in Iraq in 2005.

The Senate is currently split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, but Democrats control the chamber thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ constitutional role – and tie-breaking vote – as president of the Senate.

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