Oct 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

First look: Republican Tiffany Smiley raises $6M for Washington Senate bid

Tiffany Smiley

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Tiffany Smiley, the Republican challenging Democratic Sen. Patty Murray in Washington state, has raised $6 million in the third quarter, and has $2.5 million in cash on hand, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Republicans have insisted all year that the Senate contest in Washington, typically a bastion of blue, could be a sleeper race. Smiley could make it competitive with Murray, a five-term senator, if the money came in.

  • With her $6 million haul, more than double the $2.6 million she raised in the second quarter, Smiley can make the case to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Senate Leadership Fund that she's within striking distance.
  • “I am blown away and humbled by the groundswell of support we have received, and I am so thankful to my team and our grassroots volunteers for all the hard work they have poured into this campaign,” Smiley said.

By the numbers: At the end of July, Murray had $6.6 million cash on hand, after raising $2.6 million from April through June.

  • An Emerson College poll earlier this month gave Murray a 9-point lead and had her at 51%, above the even-water mark, an important metric for any incumbent.
  • Murray has not released her Q3 totals, but had raised a total of $14 million at the end of the last filing period.

What we’re watching: Murray went up with negative ads on Smiley in mid-June, as Democrats tried to define her early as a foe of reproductive rights and a tool of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is aligned with SLF.

  • Democratic strategists were careful not to say publicly that Murray might be vulnerable, but they also didn’t want to be caught sleeping.

The big picture: The NRSC, in addition to other party committees, will be ruthless in how it shifts money around in the campaign's closing weeks. Some political triage is already starting, with underperforming candidates being cut off from national spending.

Go deeper: The Washington fundraising numbers appear small compared to other, more hotly contested Senate races.

  • In Pennsylvania, one of the country's marquee races, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman raised $22 million in Q3, according to CNN.
  • His opponent Mehmet Oz reported $17.2 million in Q3, including a $7 million loan he gave himself.
  • SLF has spent or reserved $34.1 million in Pennsylvania Senate ads. The Democrats' counterpart, the Senate Majority PAC, is at $33.1 million.
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