Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Leif Le Mahieu.
Incumbent Democratic Washington Sen. Patty Murray is projected to win re-election against Republican opponent Tiffany Smiley.
DecisionDeskHQ made the projection at 12:35 a.m. EST.
The race in the deep-blue state became increasingly close in the final weeks of the campaign with polls showing the five-term incumbent Murray with under 50% of the vote and Smiley, a nurse and veterans advocate, surging to tie the longtime senator in several polls.
Murray, 72, a former teacher who was first elected to the Senate in 1992 when Smiley was 9 years old, became vulnerable due to President Joe Biden's unpopularity, lack of Democrat enthusiasm for her candidacy, and excitement from Washington Republicans. During a similar electoral environment in 1994, Washington voters elected a Republican to the Senate as the party swept to power nationally in the House and Senate.
During the campaign, Smiley, 39, a nurse and political outsider, tied Murray to Biden and the skyrocketing inflation that has come during his administration. She also focused on crime, homelessness, domestic oil production, increasing border security, and promising to expand school choice.
"I went to the border and I saw it with my own eyes,"
Smiley said. "I saw the cartel boats. They put drugs in and just push over into the United States of America. We know that fentanyl is coming across our southern border, so that's something I can get to work on right away on the federal level to help protect our kids in the state and help get drugs off the street,"
she said in a recent interview with The Reflector.
A longtime advocate for better health care for veterans, Smiley, a mother of three boys, is married to Scotty Smiley, who was seriously injured while serving in the U.S. Army and fighting in Iraq. She made her personal story a large part of her campaign.
Typically Republicans do not perform well in Washington at the state or national level, largely due to the large Democrat base in urban Seattle and Tacoma. Politics in the Evergreen State is typically viewed as a battle between the western urban portion of the city against the eastern rural part.
In 2016, Murray won her previous Senate election with nearly 60% of the vote. Murray also dominated Washington's open primary race earlier this year earning 52% of the vote to Smiley's 34%. But in late October Smiley started surging into the mid-40s and Murray dropped below 50%, according to RealClearPolitics as election day approached.
Both parties poured millions of dollars into the race as Republicans saw a rare opportunity in a blue state and Democrats rushed to defend Murrary, a top Democrat in the Senate.
The race was one of the most expensive in Washington history, with Murray spending over $21 million and Smiley spending over $15 million. Throughout the campaign, both candidates claimed the mantle of the relatable "mom"
that Washingtonians should send to the nation's capital.
Like other races around the country, Washington's Senate race showed similar trends with Democrats focusing in on abortion, promising to codify the now overturned Roe v. Wade while Republicans made inroads with demographics that historically have not voted for them.
Polling from before the election showed Smiley with a 15-point advantage among Hispanics in one poll, and eight points in another poll. Polls also showed an education gap among supporters of the two candidates with college-educated people more likely to support Murray, while those with just high school degrees backed Smiley.