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Survey: Longtime Democratic Senator In Real Trouble Ahead of Midterms

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A long-serving Democratic senator is in real danger of losing her seat to a Republican challenger for the first time in decades in a very blue state.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who has held her seat since 1993, has been losing ground to GOP challenger Tiffany Smiley.

“All year long, Republicans trying to spin a giant national landslide have been talking up a potential upset of five-term incumbent Senator Patty Murray,” MSN reported.

“This is despite the fact that Murray won 54 percent in the August 2 nonpartisan top-two primary, usually a sure sign of a general election victory. Soon after that result, the GOP began spending money attacking Murray, and Republican nominee Tiffany Smiley (best known as an advocate for severely wounded veterans) started putting up impressive fundraising numbers of her own,” the report continued.

“A Trafalgar Group survey in late September showing Murray below 50 percent and only leading Smiley by two points raised eyebrows, but was mostly dismissed as a typically pro-GOP outlier,” it said, going on to note:

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Now the race is generally considered competitive, though only Trafalgar (which just published a new poll showing Murray up 49-48) has it even. The most recent competing data is from the poorly credentialed Oregon robo-pollster Triton, and showed Murray up by just over five points and just over 50 percent. With Republicans threatening to win multiple Democratic-held House districts in Washington and Oregon, along with Oregon’s gubernatorial race, the midterms are shaping up as a possible northwestern blue-state nightmare for Democrats.

The Republican confidence that this is a real race seems to be more of a GOP strategic feint than something Democrat should panic over. Either way, we won’t know a lot on Election Night, since Washington is an all-mail-ballot state where ballots postmarked by Election Day will count no matter when they are received,” the outlet added.

Currently, the Senate is evenly divided at 50-50, but it is controlled by Democrats because Vice President Kamala Harris, as president of the Senate, is the tie-breaking vote. Still, the RealClearPolitics analysis of who has a better chance of winning the chamber puts Republicans gaining three seats.

That said, Democrats are spending millions in Washington to help Murray keep her seat.

“The 2022 midterm elections are just days away, and election spending is expected to break records. That could include Washington’s Senate race,” KING reported on Saturday.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Senator Patty Murray and Tiffany Smiley are both in the top 25 of candidates spending the most money nationwide,” the report continued, adding:

Senator Murray’s campaign spent $20,925,397.06 and Tiffany Smiley’s shelled out $14,796,438.17

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Both candidates combined spent more than $35 million dollars. KING 5 political analyst and former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican, said that’s significant.

“It may not be a record but has to be close to the record amount spent on a statewide campaign in Washington state. It tells us a lot about how important this race is for Democrats and Republicans,” McKenna said.

KING noted that the money being spent by candidates does not even take into account money spent on them by outside groups.

“There’s more money being spent independently there for her. The fact that they have to pour that money in to defend her says a lot about Democratic prospects in this election generally,” said McKenna.

A spokesman for Murray’s campaign said: “Voters should know that Tiffany Smiley is being bankrolled by the same extremists who helped fund the insurrection and are continuing to support election deniers all across the country. And Donald Trump’s super PAC as well as Mitch McConnell are spending millions to help elect anti-abortion extremist Tiffany Smiley to the Senate. While Smiley will be a rubber stamp for Mitch McConnell, Patty Murray will always be accountable only to the voters of Washington state.”

A spokesperson for Smiley’s campaign noted as well: “Washington voters know that in Tiffany they have a leader who will fight for them and the issues they care about. They are energized and engaged which is reflected in both our fundraising numbers and the polls. For the past 18 months, Washingtonians have been voting with their dollars, and on Tuesday they will vote with their ballots.”

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