Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.

Republican challenger may give Murray a real race for Senate | Roegner

One of the more compelling stories of this election cycle is Tiffany Smiley, who is running against Patty Murray (D) for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Let’s look at Smiley, a Republican, and her chances of defeating Murray and the group of other candidates who have also filed.

First of all, is it possible for a Republican to even have a chance in a state where all statewide officeholders are Democrats — and have not supported a GOP presidential nominee since 1984 (Ronald Reagan)?

The answer is yes, but it is a narrow path.

Murray isn’t the same candidate she was 30 years ago when she won by casting herself as a “mom in tennis shoes.” She is now part of the leadership and powerful.

Smiley is a first-time candidate who casts herself as an advocate of veterans. But there is more to the story. Smiley grew up on a farm rural Washington and dreamed of becoming a nurse. She married her high school boyfriend, Scotty Smiley.

Scotty Smiley became the first blind active duty U.S. Army officer — he had been blinded by a suicide car bomber in Mosul. At 23,she left her job as a triage nurse to take care of her husband and learned that she had to stand up for her husband and his needs, which highlighted for her the needs for all veterans. She has raised three boys, has run a small business and has helped with causes for veterans.

This could be a close race. In 2010, Murray won over Republican Dino Rossi by only 5 points in a seat she has held for many years. Also, President Joe Biden’s current low ratings could play a role. J. Miles Coleman, a political cartographer who watches Senate races for the the University of Virginia policy center, rates the seat as “likely Democrat.” Murray should be well funded.

Other national outlets consider the Senate seat safe for Murray. But if Smiley gets Republican support and tells her story, she could make it close. Murray can’t take anything for granted. There is too much concern about inflation and the economy.

I’m not so sure that Tiffany Smiley will lead Murray out of the primary, or that she will win in November. But the Republicans are spending at a significant level. At minimum, it will show the weakness in Biden’s numbers and the Republicans will want to make Inslee responsible for everything: inflation, COVID and homelessness. Voters will hear a lot of blame being cast around in the next few months.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.

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