Democrats are spending millions of dollars on television to support Sen. Patty Murray, indicating that the party is taking no chances even in strongly blue Washington state as Republicans continue to surge nationwide in recent polling.
The 30-year Senate veteran is being challenged by Republican upstart Tiffany Smiley, a political newbie whose campaign has focused on quality-of-life problems like as rising crime and rampant homelessness, as well as inflation, to attack Murray.
Smiley has narrowed a significant deficit in many polls since last summer, when Murray was leading by 18 percentage points in an 18-candidate, all-party primary.
Murray’s support dropped slightly from 51 percent in a July poll to 49 percent currently, according to a Seattle Times poll issued last week, while Smiley’s support increased from 33 percent this summer to 41 percent now.
According to the survey, Smiley has gained significant ground among the state’s all-important independents, collecting 50% of their support to Murray’s dismal 34%.
The national political atmosphere now appears to significantly favor Republicans in the midterm elections, and the fact that Democrats are paying to support an incumbent in a reliably blue state is not a positive indication for them.
Democratic operatives have been betting that people’s concerns about abortion rights and climate change will somehow help them to overcome their deficit with voters on other issues like crime and inflation.
The trouble candidates like Murray, who were once considered to be running absolutely safe races, are now having underlies the the problems Democrats have been having nationwide as their Republican rivals continue to rise in the polls.
Murray’s campaign has been forced to spend an additional $1.5 million on advertisements in the previous week, along with a smaller television piece, as part of a coordinated push with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
On Tuesday, Murray and the DSCC issued a combined fundraising plea in which they cited an anonymous survey in which the senator was leading by only 4 percentage points.
Slade Gorton, Washington’s final Republican senator, was elected in 1988 and served until January 2001.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has so far decided to spend $750,000 in Washington, in spite of the deep blue state not being at the top of GOP priorities nationwide.