(The Center Square) – Washington state Republicans’ hopes of defeating longtime U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Bothell, were dashed by Tuesday night election results. ABC News, NBC News, The New York Times, and CNN all called the race for Murray.
According to initial results released Tuesday night by the Secretary of State’s Office, Murray received nearly 57% of the vote to Smiley’s almost 43%.
GOP thoughts of an upset were fueled by some polls leading up to the Nov. 8 general election that showed an increasingly tight race, with the Pasco-born Smiley gaining on the 30-year incumbent.
In fact, a Sunday poll conducted by Moore Information Group of 500 people between Nov. 3-5 showed Smiley with a razor-thin lead over Murray. The poll, with a margin of error of 4%, had Smiley at 47.4% to Murray’s 47%.
Murray, 71, was first elected to the Senate in 1992 as a self-described “mom in tennis shoes.”
First-time political candidate Smiley, 41, 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.
Both candidates painted each other in unflattering terms during the hard-fought campaign.
Murray characterized Smiley as an extremist on the issues of abortion and election security, frequently tying her to former President Donald Trump on the controversy over the 2020 presidential election and the ensuing Jan. 6, 2021, breaching of the U.S. Capitol by protesters.
“She’s really good at describing a problem,” Murray said during the Oct. 30 town hall that was the last in-person meeting between the two candidates prior to election day. “Anybody can describe a problem. A legislator is someone who can take those issues, go to work in D.C., and pass legislation that I have passed.”
For her part, Smiley hit back at Murray as someone who has morphed into a spendthrift creature of Washington, D.C. and lost touch with the people.
“Sen. Murray is not the mom in tennis shoes anymore,” Smiley said at the town hall. “We cannot afford another six years going forward.”
Throughout the campaign, the candidates clashed on a number of hot-button issues, including the economy, crime, education, and abortion.
In Smiley, Murray faced perhaps her toughest challenge in three decades. But ultimately, Murray prevailed, with voters sending her to a sixth term in the Senate.
Republicans had hoped a Smiley victory would help Republicans wrest control of the Senate away from Democrats.
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.
The last day for the secretary of state to certify Washington’s general election results is Dec. 8.