“The Political Fight of our Lives?” Sen. Cantwell Sounds Alarm for Re-election


Achievement in public office takes a backseat to fear in today’s politics. Consider the case of Sen. Maria Cantwell as she readies to run for a fifth term in the world’s greatest deliberative body.

Cantwell has been on a roll of late. She guided the CHIPS bill through Congress, a measure designed to restore and underwrite U.S. manufacture of computer chips. She pulled off a master strategy, using the federal Clean Water Act to bring down a massive proposed mine that threatened the salmon fishery of Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

Yet, Cantwell’s initial mailings come down hard on a single theme: MAGA Republicans are likely to come after me. Cantwell has enjoyed a couple of easy campaigns, even taking time off to climb the 13,700-foot high Grand Teton while on a Jackson, Wyoming, fundraising foray.

Listen, however, to her description of last year’s reelection race of seatmate Sen. Patty Murray. “Republicans smelled an upset — and a bigger than expected red wave. Outside national groups poured in more than $20 million, making the 2022 Senate election the most expensive in Washington’s history.”

Already, Cantwell predicts, “you can bet national Republicans are already strategizing on how to beat me . . . Using their red-meat rhetoric and false claims of election fraud, they’ll try to siphon off enough votes in blue counties to defeat me and retake the Senate.” Patty Murray chimes in with a supportive letter, albeit with a different estimate of the financial onslaught directed at her: “In all, more than $10 million (most of it from hidden donors) was spent in a non-stop smear campaign against me — making the 2022 campaign the most expensive congressional campaign in state history.”

Washington is not MAGA-land, witness the upset of Trump-backed candidate Joe Kent by Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez in Washington’s 3rd District. Murray was powered to victory by a 400,000-vote margin in populous King County. A pair of Republican-linked polling firms — Trafalgar and Moore Information — ended up with egg on their faces with predictions that GOP nominee Tiffany Smiley was rapidly gaining. (Smiley lost by a large margin.)

Should Cantwell win reelection, the Murray-Cantwell team will be guaranteed a 28-year run, exactly the tenure of that enjoyed by the “gold dust twins” Sens Warren Magnuson and Henry Jackson between 1952 and 1980. Murray is chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, a provider role once filled by Maggie. Cantwell is in a policy making position as chair of the Senate Commerce, Science & Technology Committee.

“We need to prepare for the political fight of our lives,” writes Cantwell. That’s probably true of Democratic Sens. Jon Tester in Montana and Sherrod Brown in Ohio, but far less likely here. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell did commit to helping the 2010 race against Murray, but lost.

My prediction: The “corporate cash and unrelenting attacks” will be deployed elsewhere. The state’s ambitious Democratic House members will have to cool their heels. And, having summited Kilimanjaro, the Grand Toronto and Mount Rainier, Maria Cantwell will need to find another mountain to climb.

Joel Connelly
Joel Connelly
I worked for Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 1973 until it ceased print publication in 2009, and SeattlePI.com from 2009 to 6/30/2020. During that time, I wrote about 9 presidential races, 11 Canadian and British Columbia elections‎, four doomed WPPSS nuclear plants, six Washington wilderness battles, creation of two national Monuments (Hanford Reach and San Juan Islands), a 104 million acre Alaska Lands Act, plus the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area.


  1. Cantwell, Murray, and Inslee are responsible for high taxes, exploded government programs, and ruining Seattle. At all costs vote against them.

  2. This democratic state of Washington and the destruction of Seattle and more to come is because this state supports people like Murray and Cantwell. Does Washington State not realize how terrible the democratic representatives that they have voted for do not care about its citizens but only themselves. Wake Up People.

  3. Another “Sell Out Politician”.
    Murray sold Her Soul when she Backed Hillary. Proven in this last election when she was granted Statehood with the #3 position in the Dem ranks.
    You use MAGA as a derogatory Slang, when this Great Country you’re bringing down gave your Privilege ass the Freedom to spout your stupidity.
    You’re blind to the Freedoms you’re pissing away and you are being used by those who have sold You out to save themselves.
    Bravo. Morons.

  4. Maria’s not so bad. At least she didn’t get rich while in office like Patty did; Maria was already rich. It’s no doubt too early to expect her to actually do something for this state. She’s only been in office for decades. No rush.

  5. Vote her out . What has the Democrats done ? Raise taxes and hurt all families ! Term limits ! If you keep voting for lying congress mean woman you’re the problem of our world , Society!

  6. Interesting to see the comments that confirm Cantwell’s predictions and your analysis about MAGA types coming after her. If the race gets nasty this early on, you have to wonder how much muck to anticipate down the road. Washington has benefited from the Cantwell-Murray duo and hopefully will continue to.

    • This woman has no soul and no interest in the welfare of the state. Democrats have wrecked washington!

  7. Clearly, MAGA Washington has discovered Post Alley. What they haven’t discovered are decent Republican candidates.

  8. This informative and thought-provoking site must have been mentioned or even featured on one of the many kook sites “out there.”

    7 out of 10 comments from Kookville. Hope things stay safe.

  9. Washington has went down hill and is slely becoming the next California as they escape the policies they ruined their state with, to reimplement them to ruin our state. Durrmerrats.


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