Democrat Murray wins sixth term to US Senate

Sen. Patty Murray won reelection Tuesday as the Democratic stalwart prevailed in a campaign in which she repeatedly said her Republican challenger was too extreme for Washington state.

Murray bested defeated Tiffany Smiley in her quest for a sixth term.

Murray’s 30 years in the Senate place her behind only Democratic Sens. Warren Magnuson and Henry “Scoop” Jackson for longest service in the Senate from the Evergreen State. The powerhouse duo served 36 years and 30 years, respectively, and were among the most powerful senators of the mid-20th century.

Murray is now a member of the Democratic leadership.

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.

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

The Democrat 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 said Smiley would be a vote for a nationwide ban on abortion. Smiley countered that while she is pro-life, she oppose 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, criticized Murray as a do-nothing senator and blamed her for crime and other social ills.

A native of Pasco, Washington, Smiley 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, and had $3.7 million in the bank. Smiley had raised more than $12.8 million — far more than other recent GOP Senate challengers in Washington state — and had $2.4 million in the bank.

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

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

Check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections

Nicholas K. Geranios, The Associated Press