Election Day 2022: Key races to watch across Washington state

SEATTLE — Control of Congress could come down to one or two seats in Washington, and voters are deciding who will serve the state in the Senate for the next six years.

>>List of drop boxes and voting centers

Here are some of the key races that voters will be deciding on Election Day.

KIRO 7 has you covered election night. Watch for up-to-the-minute results on the biggest races in Washington and across the country, as well as in-depth analysis. Coverage starts Tuesday at 4 p.m., and find local election results here when results begin to come in, starting at around 8:15 p.m.

U.S. Senate: Patty Murray (D) vs. Tiffany Smiley (R)

Smiley is a nurse who became a veterans advocate after her husband, Scotty, lost his sight to a suicide bomber while serving in Iraq. Murray was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992, running 30 years ago as “a mom in tennis shoes.”

The candidates have clashed on such issues as crime, abortion and inflation, and have spent $36 million combined on ads.

Murray wants to pass national abortion protections in the Senate and says Smiley’s election could lead to a national abortion ban.

“I am personally pro-life, oppose a federal abortion ban, and I respect the will of the people of Washington state,” Smiley told KIRO 7. “There’s good people on both sides of the issue and I believe it belongs at the state level. … I’m a person of my word.”

Murray’s campaign points to anti-abortion social media posts that Smiley liked before announcing her Senate run.

Murray voted for the Inflation Reduction Act, which Smiley opposed.

“We need to reign in the out-of-control spending that’s caused the inflation in the first place. When I talk with people, they’re eager for one-issue bills,” Smiley said last month.

On crime, both candidates support funding more police officers. Smiley has highlighted the fentanyl crisis and Murray has spoken about reducing gun violence.

The candidates answered questions in KIRO 7′s Town Hall.

3rd Congressional District: Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D) vs. Joe Kent (R)

In the open seat in the 3rd Congressional District, Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez faces Trump-endorsed Republican Joe Kent, who edged out incumbent Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in the state’s top two primary. Herrera Beutler was among those targeted by former President Donald Trump for her impeachment vote following the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

8th Congressional District: Matt Larkin (R) vs. Dr. Kim Schrier (D)

Matt Larkin, a businessman and former prosecutor who ran for state attorney general in 2020, is the Republican challenger. Schrier, who worked as a pediatrician before being elected, is the only Democrat to hold the seat since the 8th Congressional District was created 40 years ago. Read about their recent debate here.

Secretary of State: Steve Hobbs (D) vs. Julie Anderson (nonpartisan)

Democrats are trying to win the secretary of state’s office in an election for the first time in six decades after Republicans failed to advance a candidate in the primary. Pierce County Auditor Anderson is trying to unseat incumbent Hobbs, who was appointed last year after Republican Kim Wyman took a job with the Biden administration. This election will determine who serves the last two years of Wyman’s term.

Find more stories and a list of ballot drop boxes in our Politics section.

King County prosecutor: Jim Ferrell (D) vs. Leesa Manion (D)

Current Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell is facing off against Leesa Manion. Manion is retiring King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg’s chief of staff, while Ferrell served as a prosecutor for 15 years before he became mayor in 2013.

Ranked choice voting vs. approval voting

Seattle voters will decide whether to approve a new system for voting in primary elections.

“Instead of voting for one candidate, you get to rank your choices, first, second, third and so on. If your favorite can’t win, then your vote counts toward your next choice,” Ben Chapman of Fair Vote Washington said about ranked choice voting.

In approval voting, voters select all candidates who meet their approval. The two candidates with the most votes advance to the general election.

“Pick every single candidate that matches your values. So, when we have a mayoral race with 15 candidates, as we did last year, oftentimes there’s going to be one or two candidates or even more that really match your values,” said Logan Bowers of Seattle Approves.

Primary elections for mayor, city council and city attorney could change. Read more about ranked choice vs. approval voting here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.