U.S. Senate candidates Murray, Smiley answer voters’ questions in KIRO 7 Town Hall

Answering voter questions on the same stage for the first time, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley met in a KIRO 7 Town Hall on Sunday night.

The first questions came on political division, with both candidates agreeing that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

“What’s important is what we say, and I know my opponent had on her website, she sowed seeds of doubts about whether the election was legitimate,” Murray said when asked about what can be done to restore faith in the election system.

“Sen. Murray spent millions to paint me as someone I am not … and she also in 2004 had questions about the presidential election,” Smiley said.

The candidates also clashed on crime.

“Crime is plaguing Washington state. Everywhere I go, our communities are less safe,” Smiley said. “Sen. Murray went on the Senate floor in June of 2020 and called for funds to be diverted from our police force.”

“We put specific funds into the American Rescue Plan to help communities hire and train new officers, and that money is out there now,” said Murray.

On abortion, Smiley said she is pro-life but opposed to a federal ban. Murray said she wants Congress to codify Roe v. Wade into law.

“Send me back with a pro-choice majority, we’ll get that signed into law,” Murray said.

“I believe that it belongs here with the people,” Smiley said. “Washington state has long decided where it will stand on this issue.”

Voters also asked about climate change.

“I know my opponent doesn’t believe the same as I do here, but climate change is real, it’s impacting our economy, it’s impacting our weather,” Murray said.

“Absolutely, yes,” Smiley said when asked if humans are causing climate change. “I don’t know why Sen. Murray calls me a climate denier, because I’m not.”

The candidates also disagreed over President Biden’s plan to forgive student loans.

“I know a way to get free education in this country, as well — it’s called service to our country,” Smiley said.

“I do support the steps President Biden took,” Murray said. “I have talked to too many people who during these challenging times cannot buy a house, cannot buy a car.”