Washington Senate candidates clash on abortion, inflation as campaign enters final weeks

As Election Day nears, Republican Tiffany Smiley is touring Washington by bus, hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who’s campaigning for her sixth term.

Both candidates are answering questions about inflation, crime, and abortion, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

“I will fight with everything I have to make sure women make their own health care choices,” Murray told KIRO 7.

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

This week, Smiley campaigned with Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, who sponsored legislation to ban abortion after about five months of pregnancy.

In Washington, state voters twice affirmed abortion rights.

“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.”

After the candidates clashed in a debate, Smiley’s campaign tweeted an image of Murray with red hands, saying the senator supports allowing abortions up to birth.

“There is one extreme on this issue, and that is Sen. Murray,” Smiley said in an interview.

“Saying up to the point of birth, that’s a canard, that is not just legitimate,” Murray said in a separate interview.

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

“She did support a ban, a federal ban on abortion, and in fact she wanted to defund Planned Parenthood,” Murray said in reference to the liked tweets. “When you support something through your social media and show people where you stand, that’s a pretty affirmative thing.”

Smiley is a nurse who became a veteran’s advocate after her husband, Scotty, lost his sight to a suicide bomber while serving in Iraq.

The Washington State Republican Party endorsed Smiley almost a year before the primary to take on Murray, who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992, running 30 years ago as “a mom in tennis shoes.”

Other issues in the 2022 campaign include the economy.

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.

“We are being responsible and making sure these are paid for and don’t impact inflation or our economy,” Murray said.

On crime, both candidates support funding more police officers.

Smiley highlights the fentanyl crisis.

“We need action, we need to secure our border and stop the flow of fentanyl from coming into Washington state,” Smiley said. “It’s here, it’s killing our kids.”

Murray talks about reducing gun violence.

“I support a ban on assault weapons, on ghost guns, I want to make sure we have better protection for Americans with background checks,” Murray said.

Murray leads in the polls, but Smiley is making the race competitive.

Voters are deciding now who will serve Washington in the Senate for the next six years.

Comments on this article