Republican Tiffany Smiley speaks on Aug. 2, at a Republican Party event on Election Day in Issaquah. Smiley faces Democratic incumbent Patty Murray in the November election. (AP Photo / Ted S. Warren, File)

Republican Tiffany Smiley speaks on Aug. 2, at a Republican Party event on Election Day in Issaquah. Smiley faces Democratic incumbent Patty Murray in the November election. (AP Photo / Ted S. Warren, File)

Murray and Smiley spar over abortion, crime in Senate debate

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley argued over several issues.

By Nicholas K. Geranios / Associated Press

SEATTLE — U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley argued over abortion, crime and inflation on Sunday in their only scheduled debate before the Nov. 8 election.

Smiley made numerous references to Murray’s 30 years in the Senate during the hour-long debate televised from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, saying it was time for a change.

“She is the image of big government,” Smiley, who is making her first run for public office, said. “You are not the mom in tennis shoes anymore.”

Murray, who is seeking a sixth term, said in this election: “Women’s rights are on the ballot. Our democracy is on the ballot and our economy is on the ballot.”

Murray has led the polling in the race, including a poll last week that showed she had an 8-point lead over Smiley, but that the race had also narrowed in recent weeks.

The two candidates agreed that the federal immigration system was not working. Smiley said dangerous drugs were flowing across the border, while Murray said the system needs to be fixed for humanitarian reasons and to help businesses find employees.

Regarding inflation, Murray said she is focused on lowering costs for families and supported President Biden’s inflation reduction act.

“That sounds like a Washington, D.C., answer to me,” Smiley said. She said the Biden administration is also seeking to hire 87,000 employees for the Internal Revenue Service who will be “coming after our businesses.”

“I will make sure 87,000 IRS agents do not come after you,” Smiley said.

The candidates clashed over abortion, with Smiley saying she was pro-life but opposed a nationwide ban. She said the issue should be left up to the residents of each state.

“This should not be decided by politicians,” Murray replied. “I will pass legislation to codify Roe v. Wade.”

On the issue of the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, Murray said we must fight to save our democracy. Smiley said her husband lost his eyesight to a suicide bomber in Iraq while in the Army working to save democracy.

“We live in the greatest country in the world,” Smiley said.

Smiley said the state has a “crime crisis” and that “crime is on the rise everywhere,” while the federal government does little in response. Murray said crime is a local, state and federal issue and pointed to the easy availability of guns as one reason.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks during the House Committee on Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing. Murray faces Republican Tiffany Smiley in the November election. (AP Photo / Mariam Zuhaib, File)

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks during the House Committee on Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing. Murray faces Republican Tiffany Smiley in the November election. (AP Photo / Mariam Zuhaib, File)

Murray said she would support gun control legislation, while Smiley said she supported the Second Amendment.

The candidates disagreed on climate change, with Smiley calling for more energy production in the United States and Murray calling for investments in alternative energy resources.

Both said they would push to complete the cleanup of radioactive waste on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Washington.

Smiley and Murray disagreed on a proposal to breach four hydroelectric dams on the Snake River to save declining salmon runs, with Smiley opposing it on grounds that the dams were essential to the economy. Murray said salmon are also essential and she would work to save them.

The debate was sponsored by The Spokesman-Review newspaper, League of Women Voters, KSPS-TV and the Washington State Debate Coalition. Laurel Demkovich, a Spokesman-Review reporter, was the moderator.

Murray has declined to accept additional debates, but the two candidates will meet again next Sunday in a one-hour town hall format in Seattle.

Murray, 71, has run a slew of negative ads against Smiley, saying the Republican’s anti-abortion stance could threaten women’s rights and also trying to tie her to extremist elements within the GOP.

Murray has also tied Smiley to former President Donald Trump and his MAGA supporters, saying the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, was something voters should not forget.

Smiley, 41, has criticized Murray as a do-nothing senator and blamed her for crime and other social ills.

A native of Pasco, Washington, Smiley has tried to connect with voters by focusing on her personal story. She’s a former nurse who has highlighted her past advocacy for her husband, a military veteran who was blinded in an explosion while serving in Iraq in 2005.

Murray had raised more than $17.8 million as of the September reporting deadline, and had $3.7 million in the bank. Smiley had raised more than $12.8 million — far more than other recent GOP Senate challengers in Washington state — and had $2.4 million in the bank.

Washington hasn’t elected a Republican to the Senate since 1994.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

John Pederson lifts a flag in the air while himself and other maintenance crew set up flags for Memorial Day at Floral Hills Cemetery on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Volunteers place thousands of flags by veterans’ graves in Lynnwood

Ahead of Memorial Day, local veterans ensure fellow military service members are never forgotten.

Brian Hennessy leads a demonstration of equipment used in fire training at the Maritime Institute in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘Ready to go full sail’: Maritime Institute embarks at Port of Everett

The training facility offers Coast Guard-certified courses for recreational boaters and commerical vessel operators.

George Beard poses for a photo outside of the the Stanwood Library in Stanwood, Washington on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
From sick to the streets: How an illness left a Stanwood man homeless

Medical bills wiped out George Beard’s savings. Left to heal in his car, he got sicker. Now, he’s desperate for housing. It could take years.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Lawsuit says Snohomish County deputies not justified in Sultan shooting

Two deputies repeatedly shot an unarmed Sultan man last year, body camera video shows. An internal investigation is pending.

An airplane is parked at Gate M9 on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. (Jordan Hansen/The Herald)
Good luck to Memorial Day travelers: If you’re like me, you’ll need it

I spent a night in the Chicago airport. I wouldn’t recommend it — but with flight delays near an all-time high, you might want to pack a pillow.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Friday, May 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Cascade’s Mia Walker, right, cries and hugs teammate Allison Gehrig after beating Gig Harbor on Thursday, May 23, 2024 in Lacey, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Seniors Wilson, Tripp power Cascade softball past Gig Harbor

The pair combined for three homers as the Bruins won the Class 3A state softball opening-round game.

The original Mountlake Terrace City Council, Patricia Neibel bottom right, with city attorney, sign incorporation ordinance in 1954. (Photo provided by the City of Mountlake Terrace)
Patricia Neibel, last inaugural MLT council member, dies at 97

The first woman on the council lived by the motto, “Why not me?” — on the council, at a sheriff’s office in Florida, or at a leper colony in Thailand.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.