The final appeal for campaign money from Senate candidate Tiffany Smiley arrived in my email box at 7:27 p.m., complete with a Republican poll showing her pulling even with our longtime Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.
Forty-six minutes later, Smiley was toast. NBC projected Murray’s reelection to a sixth term, buttressed by 74 percent of King County’s vote in the early count.
The “red tsunami” projected by ex-President Trump was expected to miss Washington but appears only to have inundated low-elevation Florida. The Sunshine State is already suffering from rising sea levels and ferocious climate-induced hurricanes. With control of the House still at issue, it doesn’t yet qualify even as a red tide.
With upcoming close quarters combat in Congress, our state’s team will be worth watching.
With retirement of Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vermont, Murray sits atop seniority in the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. Three Northwesterners – Sens. Warren Magnuson, Mark Hatfield and Ted Stevens – have chaired the committee in the past half-century. Murray is already chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Will Democrats hold the Senate and will she move?
Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., has worked across the aisle as much as anybody in a bitterly divided House, chairing a bipartisan panel charged with improving its operations. He and Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., who’ve chaired the New Democratic Coalition will have clout, especially in that a surprising number of centerist Democrats survived in contested districts.
If Republicans take command, the ineffable Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., will chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee. CMR has emerged as a kind of Rachel Carson-in-reverse, advocating a drill-baby-drill energy policy with renewed reliance on fossil fuels, more refineries and throwing open federal lands to the oil and gas industry.
She’ll rake in the campaign dollars and doll out the subsidies, at the expense of an Eastern Washington district feeling impacts of climate change with wildfires, prolonged drought, heat domes and record temperatures.
The 3rd District outcome will have consequences. If MAGA Republican extremist Joe Kent pulls ahead, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ought to be caned for its non-support of Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez. If MGP wins in Southwest Washington, she will be a national model for how the Democrats win back Rust Belt and rural voters.
A spate of 11th Hour Republican polls predicted a red tsunami. In our region, I remember GOP pollster Bob Moore predicting Slade Gorton’s reelection in 1986, putting Slade ahead in his 2000 campaign, with Moore Information coming out with a poll last weekend showing Tiffany Smiley overtaking Murray.
You can’t forecast the future . . . especially not now with down-the-middle divisions.
Oh yes, at 8:06 p.m. I received one more email from the Tiffany Smiley Election Day Donor Fund. Its message: “Help Tiffany bring home a huge win tonight.” The race had just been called for Murray.