United States Senate election in Washington, 2022
The 2022 Washington State U.S. Senate race concluded with incumbent Senator Patty Murray’s decisive victory over Republican nominee Tiffany Smiley. Senator Murray, who has held the seat since 1993, won a 6th term by defeating Smiley in the November 8 midterm election.
Murray’s win demonstrates her continued strong support among Washington voters. It also impacted the national battle for control of the U.S. Senate, helping Democrats maintain their slim majority in the 2022 midterms.
About the Washington Senate Seat
The Washington Senate race was for one of the 35 Class III Senate seats up for regular election in 2022. Senator Patty Murray has represented Washington in the U.S. Senate since 1993.
First elected in 1992, Murray is the first female Senator elected in Washington state. She succeeded long-serving Democrat Senator Brock Adams.
Over her 30 years in office, Murray has cultivated a reputation as an advocate for women, families, veterans and the environment. She currently chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee and previously served as chair of the Senate Budget Committee.
Candidates in the Race: Murray vs. Smiley
Incumbent: Senator Patty Murray, Democrat
Senator Patty Murray, 72, was first elected in 1992 as the so-called “Mom in Tennis Shoes.” Her priorities include expanding access to childcare, education and healthcare.
Murray won reelection in 1998, 2004, 2010 and 2016. She had strong Democratic backing as well as support from organizations like Planned Parenthood, major labor unions, League of Conservation Voters and more.
Challenger: Tiffany Smiley, Republican
Tiffany Smiley, 41, is a veterans advocate, nurse and former triage nurse. This was her first run for public office.
Smiley focused her campaign on public safety, securing the border, addressing homelessness and lowering costs. She was endorsed by former GOP Governor Dan Evans.
The State of the Race
Coming into the midterms, Democrats held an effective 50-50 Senate majority with Vice President Harris as the tie-breaker. The race in Washington was seen as important for Democrats to hold that control.
Pre-election polls showed Senator Murray with a consistent lead. She also significantly out-fundraised Smiley, bringing in over $18 million by mid-October compared to Smiley’s $6 million raised.
Key issues in the race included abortion rights, inflation and crime. Smiley attacked Murray as too liberal for Washington. Murray emphasized Smiley’s far-right positions on abortion and Trump’s false claims about election fraud.
Senator Murray Secures Decisive Victory
In the end, Senator Patty Murray won reelection decisively. With nearly 90% of votes counted, Murray led 57.2% to Smiley’s 40.5% – a 16.7% margin of victory.
Murray maintained her longtime command of King County and the Puget Sound region. Strong Democratic turnout also lifted Murray, while Smiley failed to gain major ground in rural areas.
Murray’s incumbency advantage, name recognition, and Washington’s overall blue tilt proved too much for Smiley to overcome. The victory demonstrates Murray’s continued popularity in the state she’s represented for 30 years.
Impact on Balance of Power in Washington & Nationally
The outcome in the WA Senate race enabled Democrats to maintain their Senate majority, a key victory amid the midterms where Republicans gained control of the House.
Nationally, Democrats will hold a 51-49 edge in the next Senate. Murray’s win was one of the seats that gave Democrats a net pickup of 1 seat overall.
In Washington state, Democrats will continue to hold both Senate seats and the governorship, maintaining the party’s political dominance in the state.
Senator Patty Murray’s decisive reelection win underscores her commanding political stature in Washington state. For a 7th term, voters chose Murray’s deep policy experience and Democratic priorities on issues from health care access to environmental protection.
The victory shows Murray continues to earn Washingtonians’ trust, keeping a Senate seat blue as other states trended red. Murray’s presence will remain influential in the next Congress as Democrats retain their Senate majority.
1. Who won the 2022 WA Senate race?
Incumbent Democratic Senator Patty Murray won reelection, defeating Republican nominee Tiffany Smiley.
2. What was Senator Patty Murray’s margin of victory?
Murray defeated Smiley by 16.7%, 57.2% to 40.5% with nearly all votes counted.
3. How long has Patty Murray served as a WA Senator?
Patty Murray has represented Washington in the U.S. Senate for 30 years since her initial election in 1992. Her 2022 win marks 7 terms in office.
4. Did the WA Senate race outcome determine Senate control?
Yes, Murray’s win helped Democrats maintain their slim 50-51 Senate majority, picking up 1 net seat overall across 2022 Senate elections.
5. Is Washington state generally seen as a blue or red state?
Washington leans solidly Democratic, with Democrats controlling most key statewide offices, including governor, both Senators and the state legislature.